An Openreach engineer working in North Tolsta. Image: BT
An Openreach engineer working in North Tolsta. Image: BT
Broadband users on the remote Hebridean island of Lewis are taking part in trials of a new technology which could see speeds attainable over long phone lines significantly boosted.

The trial is being conducted by BT’s Openreach network division, which is exploring ways to deliver faster speeds over existing connections, and involves 20 households in North Tolsta, on the Isle of Lewis.

Known as Long Reach VDSL, the technology was installed into the community’s existing fibre broadband cabinet earlier this week and Openreach says users are already seeing “significant increases” in their speeds.

If successful the technology could play an important role in realising the Government’s ambition for all households to receive broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps regardless of their location.

Commenting on the trial and its initial results, Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “Getting faster speeds to rural communities is one of my biggest priorities, so testing new solutions in the field like this is a crucial part of that process.

“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.

“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.”