Openreach switches on G.fast in Scotland

Up to 17,000 homes and businesses in parts of Edinburgh and Glasgow will be able to access an ultrafast broadband connection after Openreach expanded its G.fast delivery technology pilots north of the border for the first time.

G.fast works by expanding the frequency range used by broadband signals to enable operators to get more capacity out of a traditional copper line. It has long been hailed by Openreach as a means to quickly and cheaply provide ultrafast broadband to more people, although it can also be argued that it merely punts the need for full fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) further into the future.

“These pilot schemes are hugely important to us and to the local households and businesses, which will be able to benefit from G.fast,” said Openreach fibre programme director for Scotland, Andrew Hepburn.

“Whether you are somebody aiming to work more efficiently or grow your business, or a household going online for shopping, entertainment or studies, fast access to the internet has never been more important. We know the technology works and can be a major benefit for customers, but these pilots will now help us test and improve all the factors involved in rolling out G.fast on a national scale.”

The Scottish trials will cover properties in Corstophine, Craiglockhart, Fountainbridge, Gorgiem the Meadows, Morningside and Sighthill in Edinburgh, and Linn and Rutherglen in Glasgow, offering users the opportunity to experience download speeds of over 300Mbps.

Residents of the pilot areas will need to contact their internet service provider (ISP) – not necessarily BT – to see if they can receive a G.fast backed service.

The upgrade comes at the end of a six-month process that has seen Openreach engineers upgrade fibre cabinets with G.fast-enabled digital subscriber line access multiplexers (DSLAMs) in Edinburgh and Glasgow in order to prepare for the arrival of the service.

Openreach, which is currently in the process of legally, although not structurally, separating from its parent organisation BT, hopes to be able to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million homes around the UK by the end of 2020. This will come from a mixture of G.fast and FTTP, although it is likely to be mostly G.fast.

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