BT-backed Openreach announced yesterday that FTTP service is officially live for 80,000 homes and businesses in Edinburgh.
The expansion is part of Openreach's fiber rollout across the UK and its plan to make fiber available to 4.5 million homes and businesses by March 2021, and 20 million premises later in the decade.
Along with everything else, Edinburgh's network construction was hindered by COVID-19. But a press release announcing the live FTTP service notes that with the easing of lockdown restrictions, engineers are restarting work throughout the city, in such areas as Stockbridge, the West End, Craiglockhart and Portobello; with upgrades to start in Maybury, West Edinburgh and Waverley later in the year.
While the global pandemic has certainly raised awareness and broadened conversation about the need for reliable, high-speed broadband network construction in underserved areas, it remains to be seen whether the appetite is there for lawmakers in the UK, as well as in the US, to commit the resources and legislation necessary for ongoing, meaningful expansion.
Last month, Openreach CEO Clive Selley called on the Scottish government to prioritize digital investment as part of the country's COVID-19 recovery.
Speaking at a meeting of the Openreach Scotland board, Selley said that full fiber will be "transformational, boosting Scotland's economy by £4.5bn [US$5.7B], cutting carbon emissions from commuting and helping 37,000 more people to access employment."
However, he added, "the industry needs better and faster planning, access and roadworks rules," as well as government action to both sustain its investment in digital infrastructure and implement a program to help more premises get high-speed connectivity.
As of June, Openreach said takeup of its high-speed services in Scotland was "around" 50%.
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