Openreach announces 36 new UK locations for fibre build

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Openreach, the access network division of BT Group is to extend its ‘Fibre First’ programme to a further 36 locations across the UK in the next 12 months.

Over the coming months, work will begin in towns and cities including Newcastle, Doncaster, Chelmsford and St Albans. Four new locations in Scotland (Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire and Bathgate, Broxburn and Whitburn in West Lothian) have been prioritised following the Scottish Government’s decision to extend rates relief on new fibre broadband networks.

The additions will bring the total number of locations in the company’s multi-billion-pound programme to 74.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: ‘The government wants to see a nationwide full-fibre network and we’re keen to lead the way in helping them achieve that. One headwind to investment which affects all full-fibre builders is business rates, and we’ve been encouraged by the Scottish Government’s move to extend rates relief north of the border. I’m convinced that prioritising investment in faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband networks will prove to be a no-regrets decision for future generations.’

Paul Wheelhouse, connectivity minister for the Scottish Government, added: ‘We listened to industry and provided 10 years rates relief, five years more than the UK Government, with the aim of encouraging new investment in Scotland’s fibre infrastructure network. I am pleased to see that decision yielding early results with this announcement by Openreach. Through the DSSB programme, we have seen the transformative effects that good quality digital connectivity can deliver for Scotland, and I hope the delivery of full fibre infrastructure to Bathgate, Broxburn, Kilmarnock and Whitburn will deliver similar results.’

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