Thousands more Midlothian households and businesses are now able to connect to high-speed fibre, thanks to the £428m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out.
More premises in places such as Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith and Gorebridge are among the most recent to be reached.
Many of the latest connections to be upgraded were previously ‘Exchange Only’ (EO) lines, a historic legacy of the copper network once thought to be out of the reach of high-speed fibre services. Such lines run directly from the exchange to homes and business premises, bypassing the usual roadside cabinets which are a vital part of the fibre roll-out.
Engineers worked out an innovative way to integrate these lines into the fibre network, laying hundreds of metres of new cables to reroute lines through extra roadside cabinets.
Now more than 750,000 premises across the country can connect to their fastest- ever broadband speeds through the roll-out, with around 77,000 premises reached in the last six months.
Local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic. Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said: “More than 90 per cent of Scotland now has fibre broadband available, thanks to both the programme and commercial coverage. The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is progressing further and we are extending coverage in communities such as Loanhead and Temple.
“The Scottish Government is committed to delivering 100 per cent superfast broadband access across Scotland by 2021 and plans are currently being developed to ensure that this is the case. During the summer months our existing programme will continue to advance across the country, bringing high speed broadband to new rural communities.”
Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, said: “The Digital Scotland fibre roll-out has continued to make good progress over the last six months. Thanks to engineering innovation, thousands of people on lines once thought to be incapable of carrying a superfast service are now able to upgrade to higher speeds.”