Scottish villages chosen for broadband boosting pilot

Engineer working on a fibre cabinet Image copyright Iain MacDonald/BT
Image caption The technology has already been tested on the Isle of Lewis

Villagers in some of the more remote parts of Scotland will take part in a pilot for a new broadband boosting technology.

It is the first commercial trial of the technology, which increases broadband speeds over very long phone lines.

About 60 premises in Argyll and the Hebrides are among six UK locations picked to take part.

The pilot comes after successful trials which began on the Isle of Lewis last summer to see if the technology worked.

The technology - known as Long Reach VDSL - is being piloted by telecoms infrastructure provider Openreach which wants to understand how the technology can improve broadband speeds for homes and businesses across the country.

Because of the laws of physics, broadband speeds tend to slow down over long distances.

But Long Reach VDSL operates at higher power levels and makes use of a wider range of frequencies to increase broadband speeds and the distance over which they can be delivered.

Clachan and Whitehouse on the Kintyre peninsula and Eriskay in the Western Isles were chosen because of their remote locations and low download speeds, which are currently less than 10Mbps.

British engineering

All suitable lines to the villages and to Eriskay have been converted to the new technology and if it proves successful they will remain in operation at the higher speeds for the foreseeable future.

The other Long Reach VDSL pilot locations are Kesh and Pomeroy in Northern Ireland and Plaistow in West Sussex.

Kim Mears, managing director at Openreach, said: "Long Reach VDSL can potentially improve speeds for thousands of homes and businesses across Scotland and the rest of the UK - particularly those connected by long lines.

"Getting faster speeds to rural communities is one of our biggest priorities.

She added: "This technology is a great piece of British engineering, but it is not something Openreach can just implement alone so we're delighted to be working with a number of our service provider customers on these pilots to make sure it works with their home routers and TV boxes."

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