Another 26,000 premises across the country can now get fibre broadband through the £428 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.
Thanks to the programme more than 870,000 premises are able to connect to the new network, which has reached places like Pool of Muckhart in Clackmannanshire; Kinlochewe in Wester Ross; Little Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross; and Cockburnspath in Scottish Borders for the first time.
The high-speed fibre network was also expanded in more than 150 other communities – such as Balmaclellan in Dumfries and Galloway; Benbecula in the Western Isles; and Kilcreggan in Argyll and Bute – during the last quarter.
Each week the programme, one of the largest broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas. Across the country around 4,355 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 10,000km 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 80Mbps* 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 also include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.
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.
With more than 870,000 premises now having access to fibre broadband, the Digital Scotland programme expects to confirm shortly, following the usual assurance process, that its 95 per cent fibre coverage target was met at the end of 2017.
Crucially, 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 beyond, complementing ongoing commercial build across Scotland.
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.
“However, these upgrades are not automatic. I would encourage more people to check whether they are eligible 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."
Robert Thorburn, Openreach digital partnership director for Scotland, said: “The Digital Scotland rollout across our nation is a huge success story, especially given the significant extra work and unique challenges posed by our vast geography.
“At the start of the Digital Scotland project we said we’d reach an additional 750,000 premises on top of our commercial investments, and we’ve gone well beyond this. More than 2.5 million Scottish households and businesses now have access to high speed broadband over the Openreach digital network.
“Of course there’s more to do and our engineers are keeping up the pace to reach even more remote and rural communities during 2018..”
* These 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 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, reaching around 95 per cent of premises when combined with current commercial roll-out plans.
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, visit openreach.co.uk
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