Bridging the Digital Divide: East Lothian’s Rural Transformation with Openreach’s Full Fibre

In a significant stride toward digital inclusivity, Openreach has successfully extended its ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to the heart of East Lothian’s rural landscape, particularly in the village of East Saltoun. This development aligns with Openreach’s commitment to connect more communities across the region, transcending the boundaries of major towns to reach even the most remote areas.

Over 53% of properties throughout East Lothian now have access to Openreach’s Full Fibre network, demonstrating a concerted effort to bring cutting-edge broadband services to both urban hubs and harder-to-reach villages. While the rollout is set to expand further into towns like Haddington and Musselburgh in the coming months, Openreach is ensuring that rural communities, often underserved in the past, are not left behind in the digital revolution.

The village of East Saltoun stands out as a testament to this initiative, where a new ultrafast broadband network has been established. Local residents embraced the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, supplemented by Openreach’s contribution, to facilitate the digital metamorphosis of their community. Robin Grenfell, a community lead for the project and East Saltoun resident, emphasized the transformative power of fibre optics, stating, “It means they can be ready for the future – and even ready for the present.”

Before the Full Fibre upgrade, the village experienced varying speeds, with some areas struggling to reach double-digit Mbps. The palpable eagerness among residents for faster and more reliable broadband highlights the tangible impact Full Fibre has on modern living standards.

East Saltoun’s successful integration into Openreach’s fibre network means that approximately 28,000 households and businesses in East Lothian can now reap the benefits of Full Fibre broadband. Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s Partnership Director for Scotland, expressed enthusiasm about the positive impact this expansion will have on rural communities, emphasizing that the advantages of Full Fibre extend beyond improved connectivity to influencing economic growth.

Thorburn urged residents to seize the opportunity and place orders with their preferred providers, emphasizing that the Full Fibre experience, with providers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Zen, offers unparalleled choice and value for money. He encouraged even those content with existing services to consider upgrading, underlining Full Fibre as the future of broadband—a technology that ensures a seamless online experience, free from worries of video calls freezing or files failing to upload during peak usage times. As Openreach continues its mission to bridge the digital divide, East Lothian stands as a testament to the transformative power of Full Fibre broadband in enhancing lives and future-proofing communities.

Jonny Rae

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