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Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband reaches more of the Scottish Borders

Press Release   •   Jun 06, 2018 10:00 BST

Digital Scotland's Stephen Chambers and Greg Aitken of Teviotdale Leisure Centre are pictured in Hawick this week.

More premises across the Scottish Borders can now upgrade to faster fibre broadband through the £428 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

Thanks to the programme, more than 890,000 premises are able to connect to the new network, which has now arrived in Nether Blainslie, Gordon and Smailholm for the first time. Other areas to receive further deployment include Duns, Lilliesleaf and Paxton.

Each week the programme, one of the largest broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas.

Across the country nearly 4,500 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 11,000km of cable has been laid by engineers from Openreach, Scotland’s digital network business. Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps1 and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.

Local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic. To help promote the fact that fibre is widely available in the Scottish Borders the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband team were out Hawick, Cockburnspath and Eyemouth this week.

As part of the local rollout in Scottish Borders some ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology is also being deployed. FTTP sees fibre connected directly from the exchange to the premise and is capable of carrying speeds of up to 1Gbps2.

FTTP is being deployed by the programme in only a handful of areas where it is the best technical solution for the area. Some properties in places like Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Philiphaugh, Bowhill, Crailing and Paxton are among those to benefit.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Once again it is very positive news knowing that more premises than ever before now have fibre broadband available to them.

“I would encourage more people to check whether they are eligible to upgrade on the DSSB website and contact a service provider of their choice to start receiving faster broadband.

“I am not complacent – I am aware that those who do not have access are at a disadvantage and our job is not done until everyone is connected. We are now focusing on the next steps to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2021.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “I’m encouraged to see some more areas of the Scottish Borders can access fibre broadband thanks to a programme to which Scottish Borders Council contributed an additional £8.4 million.

“Superfast speeds are increasingly important for business and home use so it is good to see more Borders communities can now access these, including some smaller rural communities.”

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland – funding partners also include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.

Thanks to additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up, the programme will deliver new DSSB deployment in every local authority area during 2018 and into 2019, complementing ongoing commercial build across Scotland.

Robert Thorburn, Fibre Broadband Director for Openreach in Scotland, said: “As the rollout nears its end stages, we’re really digging in to some harder-to-reach communities and places where the engineering challenges are more significant.

“Many of these latest lines have been converted from a format once thought incompatible with high-speed fibre broadband, and we’re increasingly using ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) to deliver the network directly into individual dwellings.

“Finally, we are still bringing fibre to small communities like Gordon for the first time.

“It’s really a privilege for all of us at Openreach to be able to play such an important part in the life of local communities. We know there’s always more to do and we are up for the challenge.”

ENDS

1 and 2 These are the top wholesale speeds available over the Openreach networks to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

2 FTTP is capable of delivering the fastest residential broadband speeds in the UK – up to 1Gbps. That’s around 24 times the UK average speed of 44Mbps (according to Ofcom) and enough to stream 200 HD Netflix movies simultaneously, based on Netflix internet connection speed requirements.

Notes to editors:

Due to the current network topography and the economics of deployment, it is likely that not all premises within selected areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme aims to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to parts of Scotland not included in commercial providers’ investment plans, and has reached around 95 per cent of premises when combined with current commercial roll-out plans.

The Digital Scotland website is at www.scotlandsuperfast.com

About BDUK

Superfast Britain is a UK Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:

£780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017

£150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities

£150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services

Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

About Openreach

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.

We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses - large and small - to the world.

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

We work on behalf of more than 590 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.

We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom.

Any company can access our products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

For the year ended 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visitopenreach.co.uk