Thousands to benefit as BT rolls out super-fast net

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TELECOMS giant BT today announced a massive extension of super-fast fibre broadband, saying more than 50,000 homes and businesses in Edinburgh stood to benefit.

Seven exchanges in the Capital are among 34 areas across the country included in the latest phase of the company’s £2.5 billion super-fast broadband programme.

BT said today’s plans amounted to the biggest fibre announcement the company had ever made for Scotland.

The seven city exchanges to be upgraded during 2012 – Abbeyhill, Granton, Leith, Liberton, Portobello, Wester Hailes and South Queensferry – cover about 50,500 homes and businesses. Around 2700 premises in Gorebridge and 8400 in Livingston will also benefit.

Today’s announcement means around 125,000 households and businesses in and around Edinburgh, 13,500 in Midlothian and 28,800 in West Lothian will be passed by the new super-fast fibre network –it is already available from five Edinburgh exchanges, and three others have previously been announced for upgrade, as have Musselburgh, Penicuik, Dalkeith, Bathgate, Midcalder and Livingston Station.

BT says a fibre broadband connection allows internet users to do much more online, all at the same time. Upload speeds are the fastest in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly. Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Next generation broadband is essential for our nation’s economic growth so it’s brilliant to be ending 2011 on such a high note.

“Super-fast broadband will be welcomed by families in Edinburgh and the Lothians. At a stroke, small and medium-sized firms will have access to big business speeds at much lower costs, allowing them to find new markets, boost their competitiveness and create new jobs.”

City council leader Jenny Dawe said the announcement was “great news” for Edinburgh. She said: “Edinburgh has one of the highest rates of broadband uptake in Scotland and these seven new exchanges will bring further benefits for residents and businesses.”

Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil said: “We have set out our ambition for all of Scotland to have access to next generation broadband by 2020, with significant progress to be made by 2015. I welcome BT’s plans to extend their super-fast network further across Scotland.”