Better broadband for rural Clydesdale

Openreach has outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband to 300,000 more Scottish homes and businesses – including 20,000 in Lanarkshire – in some of the country’s hardest to serve communities.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 4:00 pm
News that ultrafast broadband is coming to our rural communities has been warmly welcomed.

Eleven exchange areas in north and south Lanarkshire will be upgraded, with homes and businesses in Biggar, Coalburn, Carstairs, Douglas, Douglas Water, Lesmahagow, Forth, Carnwath and Strathaven set to benefit from the five-year feat of civil engineering.

The announcement expands on Openreach’s existing nationwide build plans, which already includes Lanark and Motherwell.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s strategic infrastructure director, said: “We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as detailed surveys and planning are completed.”

Across Lanarkshire, around 30,000 premises can already access full fibre broadband on the Openreach network. The company is also delivering the main build for the Scottish Government’s R100 programme.

The updated build plan follows an extended investment commitment by its parent, BT Group – which means Openreach will now build full fibre technology to a total of 25 million UK premises, including an additional three million in the hardest-to-serve communities.

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2500 jobs announced in December 2020 – of which 275 were in Scotland.

This means that by the end of 2021, Openreach will have created and filled more than 9000 apprenticeship roles since 2017/18.

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The rollout of ultrafast broadband to so many more rural communities is vitally important, especially as we focus on recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The news has also been welcomed by area MSP Mairi McAllan.

She said: “Clydesdale needs and deserves reliable digital connections; the last year has shown us that like never before.

“As someone who lived for years in a rural, digital ‘not spot’ I know how important this announcement will be.”