The move towards nationwide full fibre broadband has taken another step forward this week, with Openreach announcing 36 new locations that are set to benefit from its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.
It will take the number of towns and cities covered by this gigabit-capable connectivity to 74 as part of the infrastructure provider's multi-billion pound Fibre First programme, with work set to begin in the next 12 months.
Chief executive at Openreach Clive Selley said: "The government wants to see a nationwide full fibre network and we’re keen to lead the way in helping them achieve that. We know that if it’s going to happen, Openreach will need to be at the front doing the heavy lifting, so we’re working hard to build a commercially viable plan."
Openreach also noted that Scotland is set to be a key focus for the company, after the devolved government in Holyrood showed its support for FTTP rollouts by extending rates relief on new fibre broadband networks.
Four new locations have been confirmed north of the border as part of the latest expansion, these being Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire and Bathgate, Broxburn and Whitburn in West Lothian.
Mr Selley said business rates are one of the biggest barriers to full fibre deployment that is faced by all connectivity providers, and Openreach has been encouraged by the moves in Scotland to reduce this burden.
"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," he added.
Paul Wheelhouse, connectivity minister for the Scottish Government, said: "We listened to industry and provided ten 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."
Openreach has recently increased its targets for full fibre broadband, with the firm now aiming to connect four million homes and businesses to the technology by the end of 2021, up from previous goals of reaching three million premises by this time.
If the right investment conditions are in place, it then hopes to connect 15 million properties by the end of 2015.