Stuart McMillan MSP connects with high-speed broadband

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan visited Openreach engineers working on an installation of ultrafast broadband technology for new homes in Gourock on Friday (7 June 2019).

He saw a ‘full fibre’ network being built directly into the new homes near Kirn Gardens to deliver ultrafast internet connections. The future-proof, reliable services can carry speeds up to 1Gbps – around 18.5 times faster than the UK’s current average, which recently topped 54Mbps according to Ofcom.

Mr McMillan also got an update on superfast services locally as he looked inside a nearby fibre street cabinet. According to the independent website Think Broadband, nearly 97.5 per cent of premises in Inverclyde are now able to connect to broadband at a superfast speed of 30Mbps and above.

Superfast services make use of street cabinets (known as Fibre-to-the-Cabinet or FTTC) while ultrafast full fibre (Fibre-to-the-Premises or FTTP) goes directly to peoples’ homes.

Mr McMillan said:

“Everyone wants good broadband, so spending time with engineers to hear about how we’re doing locally and what’s coming next was useful.

“The Scottish Government has been working with Openreach over the last few years to extend broadband and most Inverclyde households are now able to get a fast connection.

“While there’s more work to do, I’d encourage local people to check if they can upgrade because it isn’t automatic. Many more people could be benefiting from better broadband right now.”

He added:

“With Scotland’s journey to full fibre in the early stages, it’s great to know that some constituents can already enjoy reliable broadband capabilities piped directly to their homes. I welcome Openreach’s commitment to building more full fibre for Scotland in the months and years ahead.”

As well as its commercial investment in upgrades, Openreach has been working closely with the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and other partners since 2013 to bring fibre-based broadband to communities which were not included in any upgrade plans by private companies.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership rollout has reached more than 9,300 Inverclyde households and businesses, with most able to access FTTC broadband and small deployments of FTTP in areas where it’s the best technical solution.

Openreach is also working with local housebuilders to install full fibre technology into other new housing developments in places like Greenock and Port Glasgow.

Fraser Rowberry, Openreach service delivery director for Scotland, said:

“We know good, reliable broadband is really important to local people. We’ve made great progress, with a high level of superfast broadband available across Inverclyde, and work is ongoing.

“We welcomed the opportunity to show Stuart McMillan MSP our network in Gourock and see an example of the next generation of broadband already live in the town. Our engineers work hard every day to keep local communities, businesses and vital public services connected.”

Openreach’s FTTC footprint, at speeds of up to 80Mbps, currently passes around 2.6 million homes and business premises in Scotland. It’s also starting to roll out FTTP more widely, with plans to reach four million homes and businesses across the UK by March 2021, and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond.

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