A new phase of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband ‘Up your Street’ campaign has kicked off in the Scottish Borders to encourage more residents to sign up to fibre broadband and enjoy its many benefits.
Councillor Mark Rowley and senior pupils from Philiphaugh Community School in Selkirk helped the Digital Scotland team to launch the campaign this week.
It features a branded ad van, which began its tour around the Borders from Newtown St Boswells on Tuesday, with the pupils enjoying some Hallowe’en fun on Wednesday as part of the campaign.
It will encourage local people to sign up for the new, faster services with their chosen internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
The DSSB programme is 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 the programme, delivered on the ground by engineers from Openreach, more than 36,100 premises across the Scottish Borders are able to connect to the network, which has reached places like Walkerburn, Morebattle and Leitholm. Homes and businesses in towns such as Coldstream, Eyemouth and Jedburgh are also able to connect and are being targeted as part of the ongoing campaign.
Each week the programme, one of the largest broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “Over a number of years the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, supported by the Council’s additional funding, has given tens of thousands of Borderers the potential to enjoy the benefits of a high speed connection.
“However, many people don’t realise they could be benefiting, or that the technology is even available to them, which is why we are supporting this local campaign to raise awareness and encourage people to investigate the options from internet service providers.”
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 across the Borders into 2019, complementing the fact that more premises than ever before now have fibre broadband available to them.
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. Whether you own a business, work from home or want to keep in touch with friends and family, fibre broadband enables multiple users to connect to the internet at high speeds and get better, faster access to online services.
For households, superfast broadband can help children’s learning, it can enable adults to work from home, and can mean all the family can enjoy faster internet browsing and other online services.
It can also help entrepreneurs start up a home-based businesses, support established firms to provide more online services to customers and improve staff productivity.
Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: "It's fantastic news that the programme has been able to benefit residents and businesses in and around the Scottish Borders and it’s exciting to see the launch of the Borders ‘Up your Street’ campaign.
"I would like to thank Councillor Rowley and the pupils from Philiphaugh Community School for joining us to raise awareness of the availability of superfast broadband in the Borders and it’s really important that the deployment will continue in the area throughout 2018 and into 2019.
"I do recognise that not all Borders residents have yet, or will benefit from this programme, please however be assured that we continue to work hard to improve digital connectivity for all residents and businesses across the region. This is why we are now building further and well beyond our 2017 programme end – strong management and innovation have allowed us to do this. It is extraordinarily difficult but fundamental."
A procurement is currently under way by The Scottish Government to ensure that there is 100% superfast broadband across Scotland.
Robert Thorburn, 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.
“Some of the latest properties passed by the new network – including dozens in the Ayton, Coldstream, Jedburgh, Lempitlaw, Stichill and Broughton exchange areas – 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. While we know there’s more to be done, we’re proud to be a partner in helping communities across the Scottish Borders to reach their digital potential.”
The Ad-van is on tour across the Scottish Borders, visiting places like Lilliesleaf, Ancrum, Chirnside and Lauder.
Further information is also available on the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband website, scotlandsuperfast.com, Twitter, @ScotSuperfast, and Facebook, ww.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast.
1 This is the top wholesale speed available over the Openreach FTTC network to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. FTTP is capable of delivering the fastest residential broadband speeds in the UK – up to 1Gbps – fast enough to download a two hour HD movie in 25 seconds or a 45-minute HD TV programme in just five seconds.
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.
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
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