BT Trials Long Reach VDSL Broadband In Outer Hebrides

Scottish island plays host to Openreach long reach broadband trials

A remote community situated in the Outer Hebrides is the first in Scotland to test a new fibre broadband technology from BT.

The community of North Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis will play host to a BT Openreach proof of concept in Long Reach VDSL.


Around 20 households in the village have been connected to Long Reach VDSL internet over the last few days, and BT said the results are encouraging with most households seeing significant increases in their fibre broadband speeds.

Clive Selley BT Openreach cEO
Clive Selley, CEO Openreach

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. The village of North Tolsta was chosen because of its remoteness, said BT, and the fact that its fibre cabinet supports a cluster of long lines.

“This is a British innovation story, and our world class labs are pioneering a technology which could improve speeds for thousands of homes and businesses across Scotland and the rest of the UK – particularly those connected by long lines that are between 2.5km and 3.5km away from the cabinet,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley.

“Our lab tests prove that Long Reach VDSL has the potential to significantly boost speeds over such lines, which are typically found in remote parts of the UK.

For Openreach, the proof of concepts will help in hitting the government’s ambition of giving all premises a minimum of 10Mbps broadband no matter how remote they are.

“I’m pleased that North Tolsta is the first Long Reach VDSL test site in Scotland and the early results are very positive. This trial will provide engineers with more information on how the new technology works in one of the UK’s remotest locations,” said Selley.

Openreach said that it plans to hold further trials of the technology in a number of locations around the UK. More details will be announced in due course.

Main image: Openreach engineer Stuart Macdonald working in North Tolsta

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