Town broadband set to accelerate

Nathan Jones (24) of Kildrum: 'It's about time that someone brought in high speed broadband."
Nathan Jones (24) of Kildrum: 'It's about time that someone brought in high speed broadband."
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HOMES in Cumbernauld are set to be among the latest in Scotland to be able to access “superfast” broadband.

That’s the claim from BT, at least, after it announced last week that it is set to spend £2.5bn in a nationwide programme that aims to upgrade existing speeds and introduce faster broadband to areas that are currently out of reach.

The project hopes to bring Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) broadband to Cumbernauld by some point in 2012.

Cumbernauld is listed alongside 65 other locations in the UK to be included in the upgrade scheme, which is expected to provide speeds of up to 40Mbps.

The average UK speed is estimated to be roughly 6Mbps, with a relatively large gap in performance and speed between England and Scotland.

The project will deploy fibre optic broadband services, which should cover 66 per cent of the UK by 2015.

That will see the Cumbernauld telephone exchange upgraded so that independent service providers, such as Virgin Media, will be able to access BT lines and offer most customers broadband that can reach speeds of up to 40Mbps.

Hailing the news, Councillor Barry McCulloch said: “I welcome the new faster broadband to Cumbernauld for two reasons.

“Firstly, for the benefits it will bring to local people, and in particular young people, who use broadband and the internet for, amongst other things, social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

“Secondly, an improved Broadband service is also good for business and employment locally.”

Councillor McCulloch added: “Many companies rely on Broadband to keep up with the markets and customers and if this leads to more employment opportunities then this is something everyone should welcome.”

Liv Garfield, CEO for BTOpenreach, said: “Being able to bring faster broadband speeds within reach of more than five million premises is a significant milestone.

“We are now well on our way to passing 10 million in 2012, and two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2015.

“This is the largest single commercial investment in fibre-based broadband infrastructure ever undertaken in the UK and is one of the biggest civil engineering projects running in the country at this time.”

In its statement BT announced that a few of the upgraded exchanges would go live this year but it did not specify which ones.

The telecommunications giant also highlighted the difficulties of bringing superfast broadband to all of the UK.

Engineers are now investigating other ways to improve services.