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BT's infrastructure subsidiary Openreach is trialling a new technology to increase fibre broadband speeds over long phone lines.

Tests of Long Reach VDSL are being carried out in the remote community of North Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis.

Openreach has hailed the initial findings as "encouraging", as most households have seen fibre broadband speeds increase significantly.

North Tolsta was identified as the ideal place to carry out the trials as it is a remote location with a fibre cabinet that supports a cluster of long lines.

Since broadband speeds can slow over significant distances, Openreach is keen to tackle this issue in order to boost connectivity in rural communities.

Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, commented: "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."

Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, added that it is good to see new technology being tested in a real-life remote community.

He said he is "acutely aware" of the frustration experienced by those who live at the end of longer lines and insisted BT is eager to address this issue.

"We're working hard to develop technology to help us fill the remaining gaps in the UK's high-speed broadband jigsaw," Mr Dick stated. 

"This is a significant part of the puzzle."

The trial comes shortly after Openreach reported strong improvements in customer service performance, with all 60 service measures set by industry watchdog Ofcom being exceeded.

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