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Minister celebrates in rural Perthshire as Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband reaches 900,000 premises

Press Release   •   Aug 14, 2018 11:00 BST

Andrew Scarlett, Michael Matheson, Robert Thorburn and Sara Budge celebrate a Digital Scotland milestone at Scarletts Honey in Perthshire

More than 900,000 premises across Scotland are now able to connect to fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out.

The programme reached the milestone today (Tuesday 14August) meaning that across Scotland more premises than ever before now have fibre broadband available to them.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson met with Andrew Scarlett from Scarletts Honey, a business in rural Perthshire which has benefitted from the programme’s deployment.

Across the country around 4,500 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 11,800km of cable has been laid by engineers from Openreach, who are continuing work on the ground into 2019.

Places like Cortachy in Angus; Dunscore in Dumfries and Galloway; and the rural village of Forgue, Aberdeenshire, are now able to receive fibre broadband for the first time.

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.

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

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

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “Fast and reliable internet is absolutely vital to communities across Scotland. It helps businesses stay connected with customers and colleagues, and helps families learn, work, play and shop.

“That is why it was fantastic to visit Andrew from Scarletts Honey today and learn about how the infrastructure, delivered as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, has made such a difference to the day-to-day running of the business.

“The Scottish Government is not stopping there. Our Reaching 100% programme, backed by an initial £600 million investment, plans to deliver superfast broadband access to every home and business in Scotland by the end of 2021 – the only part of the UK to do so.”

Thanks to additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up, the programme will continue to deliver new DSSB deployment in every local authority area during 2018 and into 2019, complementing the fact that more premises than ever before now have fibre broadband available to them.

To check whether you are eligible for a faster broadband service than you currently receive, check with your current provider or on price comparison websites.

Robert Thorburn, Fibre Partnership Director for Openreach in Scotland, said: “The Digital Scotland project and our hard-working engineers have delivered more coverage at faster speeds than expected. As we mark another major milestone, it’s fantastic that work will continue into 2019 thanks to extra funds generated through innovation, partnership efficiencies and strong take-up.

“Hundreds of the latest properties passed by the new network can now connect to the most reliable and fastest residential broadband available as we’re using more Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) to help these harder-to-reach homes join the digital revolution.

“Good connectivity is essential to a strong local economy and lets people live, learn, work and build businesses locally. We’re proud to be a partner in helping communities across Scotland reach their digital potential.”

ENDS

1These are the top wholesale speeds available over Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

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 over 95 per cent of premises when combined with current commercial roll-out plans.

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 600 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 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 and any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.

For the year ended 31 March 2018, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visit openreach.co.uk