Fiona Hyslop MSP Explores West Lothian’s Fibre Broadband Network

More than 35,500 local homes and businesses can now benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; local communities encouraged to get connected

BT today demonstrated the technology behind its roll out of super-fast fibre broadband in West Lothian to local MSP Fiona Hyslop.
The MSP visited Bathgate telephone exchange and a new fibre street cabinet in Armadale to find out for herself how the technology works and why it’s essential for the area’s economic future.

She urged local people to reap the benefits of BT’s investment in high-speed fibre broadband. The new network now passes around 35,500 homes and businesses in Armadale, Bathgate, Broxburn, Livingston and Midcalder.

Whitburn is also being upgraded and when BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out is complete, around 47,000 local homes and businesses will be able to benefit.
During the visit, BT senior engineer Stephen Quinn showed Ms Hyslop how to ‘splice’ a fibre cable – join sections together – to light up connections.

Fiona Hyslop said: “Fibre broadband has an essential role to play in the stimulation of economic recovery and in building a more prosperous future for us all. It’s great news that thousands of local people can now connect to this exciting technology if they choose.

“Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, so it’s been fascinating to see today the progress that is being made and just how these powerful connections are carried across West Lothian.”

“To ensure West Lothian’s future success we need the right building blocks in place. One of these is having the digital technology to support our people and economy and I will therefore continue my involvement with BT to ensure they are doing everything they can to secure Fibre Broadband for our more rural residents in West Lothian.”

BT is also working with the Scottish Government, local authorities and other partners to expand fibre broadband technology beyond commercial boundaries. Alongside private sector upgrades, the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnerships will help take total fibre broadband coverage across Scotland to around 95 per cent by the end of 2017. BT is investing around £126m in the partnership projects.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, who hosted the visit, said: “With the expansion of fibre broadband so firmly on the Scottish social and economic agenda, it’s great that Fiona Hyslop has spared the time to come and explore the inner workings of the technology.

“Local people may have noticed our green street cabinets being installed. This everyday street furniture is where the magic happens.

“As more than 2.4 million UK households and businesses have discovered, fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users.

“Like our partners in the Scottish Government, we are very focused not just on delivering the high-speed infrastructure but making sure that we fully exploit the benefits – as individuals and as a nation.”

Research carried out for BT by Regeneris Consulting suggests that in the next 15 years super-fast broadband could give the economy of a typical city a £296 million boost, create around 430 new jobs and 320 new start-up businesses1.
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 18 million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding all the time and is due to pass around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of Spring 2014, around 18 months ahead of the original timetable.2
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps3 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.
Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand3 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps3.
According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband speed is 14.7Mbps.
At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.

BT’s network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit