Openreach director of infrastructure solutions Matthew Kirkman was addressing Scottish homebuilders at a conference in Edinburgh this week. He said that about 3,000 new properties a year – around 13% of the total across Scotland – are currently missing out on full fibre technology. Full fibre is capable of broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second, more than 20 times faster than the current UK average.
Openreach installs full fibre networks free of charge to all new housing developments of 30 or more homes and has cut prices by more than three quarters for smaller sites, where it will co-fund work. Kirkman said: “Full fibre is the future. Scotland’s digital journey from copper to full fibre will take years, with the UK government having an ambition for everywhere to have access by 2033.
“Developers building entirely new housing have a great opportunity to be right at the forefront. Many are already on board, with around 87 per cent of new homes in Scotland signing up with us for full fibre. The remainder are split between a superfast service via fibre to the cabinet, or copper.
“We believe we can do better, and that’s why we’ve organised today’s event. We want to build closer relationships with Scottish developers large and small, and show how we can help them create future-proof networks in their new developments - and why it matters.”
He added: “Research from the London School of Economics has shown that the standard of connectivity has a direct impact on house pricing, so building reliable, ultrafast connections in new developments is a no-brainer.
“We want to see full fibre installed in all new developments, and all residents having access to a competitive retail market through our open network.”
The event was hosted by journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark. Other speakers included Stephen Kemp, managing director of Orkney Builders, who has worked with Openreach to install full fibre in the Grainbank development by Kirkwall, and Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland.
Edinburgh is the first city in Scotland – and one of the first in the UK – to be included in Openreach’s rollout of full fibre technology. More than 30,000 premises can already connect in city areas including Abbeyhill, Corstorphine, Roseburn, Gorgie, Haymarket, Murrayfield and Newington.