By Maximilian Clarke

BT announced today that another 186,000 homes and businesses in Scotland will have access to faster broadband by next summer.

Kirkwall, Lerwick, Oban, Hawick, Cowdenbeath, Peterhead, Invergordon, Fort William, Haddington, Maryhill, Alloway and Kelty are among 47 Scottish communities included in the latest roll-out plans for BT’s next generation broadband service delivered over copper lines.

The BT investment makes available broadband speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) — more than double the maximum speeds previously available to the majority of UK homes and businesses.

It means that the technology will be available to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses in Scotland by next summer — equivalent to about 72 per cent of all premises.

The new next generation broadband network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services.

This investment is in addition to BT’s on-going £2.5 billion UK roll-out of super-fast fibre-based broadband, which is expected to bring even faster speeds to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

“BT’s roll-out of faster broadband across Scotland is gathering pace," commented Brendan Dick, director BT Scotland.

“Earlier this month we announced plans to make super-fast, fibre-based broadband available to 695,500 homes and businesses by the end of next year. Now we are able to confirm a further major investment in faster broadband speeds over copper lines.

“Nobody is doing more than BT to roll-out faster broadband across Scotland. At a time of economic uncertainty these major improvements will provide a big boost for local businesses and offer many additional educational and entertainment opportunities for local households.

“And we want to go further. We want to work with the public sector to find ways of bringing faster broadband to areas which are geographically and commercially more challenging.”

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Investment, said: “We very much welcome this latest announcement from BT. Faster broadband is going to play a key role in Scotland’s future success. In an increasingly competitive and technological world it is vital that local businesses and households have access to high-speed sophisticated communications. Just like roads and railways, broadband is a vital part of the essential infrastructure of Scotland.”

"This is more good news from BT," said David Watt, executive director, Institute of Directors Scotland. "Faster, next generation broadband is one of the fundamental building blocks which will play a pivotal part in growing the nation’s economy.

It’s great to see the faster broadband footprint spreading across Scotland and in these tough economic times it gives Scottish businesses something to look forward to in the new year."