Pupils at Colinton Primary School in Edinburgh and St Margaret’s Primary School in South Queensferry this week got the chance to learn about technology on board the Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase.
More than 20,700 households and businesses across the City of Edinburgh Council area can now access high-speed fibre services thanks to the £428 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project. Local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
The showcase is a unique vehicle which features equipment used in the roll-out of fibre broadband. During the visit, pupils learned about fibre broadband and how it’s delivered through interactive activities.
The local premises are among more than 800,000 homes and businesses across Scotland which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout, led by the Scottish Government.
Parts of Colinton, South Queensferry, Coates, Gorgie and Granton are among the local areas to benefit from the rollout, with additional recent coverage going live in places like Newbridge, Ratho and Hillside. More local coverage will follow as engineers from Openreach – Scotland’s digital network business - continue work on the ground.
Local people can check the Digital Scotland website - scotlandsuperfast.com - to find out if they are able to access the latest fibre broadband technology. People need to sign up with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
Katy Westacott, Head Teacher at St Margaret’s Primary School in South Queensferry, said: “It was great to have the Digital Scotland team visit our school this week. It was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to see the amount of hard engineering work that’s involved in connecting up communities to fibre broadband. It also showed our pupils how beneficial it would be when it comes to their school work and various other aspects of their home life.”
Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* 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.
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 Edinburgh.
“I would like to thank the pupils from St Margaret’s and Colinton Primary School for joining us to celebrate fibre availability and I am glad to see that it has been able to benefit the local community.”
Digital Scotland funding partners include the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, BT Group, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.
BT Group is investing £126 million in the rollout, and the total project value includes around £18 million which is being reinvested back in to the programme as a result of stronger than expected early take-up.
Robert Thorburn, Openreach fibre partnership director for Scotland, said: “Our visits this week meant pupils from St Margaret’s and Colinton primaries were able to get an insight into how high-speed technology powers the internet and learn about a very positive side to a career in engineering.
“Thousands of people and businesses across Edinburgh can now connect to high-speed broadband when they sign up with a service provider. There’s lots of competition out there and people may find they could be surfing at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service, so I’d urge them to check and order.”
Further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast
*These are the top wholesale speeds available 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 exchange 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. Combined with current commercial roll-out plans, the programme will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of the current contract.
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. That means we connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. It’s our mission to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.
Our 30,400 people work on behalf of more than 580 communications providers like Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT. Our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, covering more than 26.8 million premises. And our technology is the basis of Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest of the G20 countries.
We’re working hard to give people the broadband speeds they need at work and at home. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11bn into our network. And we now manage more than 158 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, and from Wales to the east coast. But we’re not stopping there – we’re making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.
We’re owned by BT Group and independently governed. Our business is highly regulated, and more than 90 per cent of our revenue comes from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.
In the year ending 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.
To find out more about us and what we do, go to openreach.co.uk.