THE Forth Road Bridge is to be regenerated to carry ultra fast internet traffic to Edinburgh.
The chair of Openreach Scotland Katie Milligan says that the ‘once in a generation engineering task’ will bring the iconic landmark and UNESCO world heritage site to a new digital era.
Today, engineers are set to use a giant air compressor to blow a continuous 3km stretch of glass fibre across the bridge at speeds of 60 metres per minute.
The project has been six months in the planning, the new 16mm fibre cable, containing 432 tiny glass fibres each will deliver internet services to thousands of residents and businesses.
Katie Milligan, Chair of Openreach’s Scotland Board, said: “This is a unique moment for civil engineering in Scotland as two huge infrastructure projects come together. We’re building a new ultrafast digital highway – and going across the Forth Road Bridge is the fastest, most direct way to get it done.
“It’s impossible to join up spans of fibre on the Bridge, so it has to be done in one long piece. It’s amazing to think that these tiny fibres will future-proof the internet for thousands of homes and businesses on the south side of the Bridge for decades to come.
“This is a once-in-a-generation engineering task to make broadband fit for the future, and we’re proud to be literally bridging the digital divide across this iconic landmark.”
As well as the work on the bridge, engineers have built another 2km of fibre to the north approach, with a network linking back to a main fibre hub in Inverkeithing in Fife.
Chris Tracey, unit bridges manager for BEAR Scotland, which is responsible for the road bridges, said: “We were pleased to facilitate safe access on the Forth Road Bridge for Openreach to carry out this major upgrade, and we look forward to the benefits it will bring to local residents and businesses.”