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Better broadband for first Arran and Millport homes as roll-out delivers new fibre network

Press Release   •   Jan 18, 2016 14:10 GMT

More than 2,000 homes and businesses in Arran and Cumbrae can now order high speed fibre based broadband.

The first 1,400 premises in parts of Brodick, Lamlash, Shiskine and Whiting Bay in Arran are now part of the brand new fibre optic network. Around 800 in Millport are also able to access the new services.

Customers in these areas can check their telephone number or postcode on an interactive checker at www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhenThis is just the start of roll-out and more will follow in many of these locations and in other villages in Arran in 2016.

The roll-out is part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project.

The project, led in parts of North Ayrshire by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is bringing better broadband to thousands of homes and businesses which could not be reached by the private sector's commercial fibre broadband programme.

The coverage forms part of a three year £146m investment, funded by the Scottish Government, the UK Government, HIE and private sector partner BT, with engineers from BT's local network business Openreach delivering the project on the ground.

Stuart Robertson, HIE's director of digital, commented: "It's great to see availability of next generation broadband arrive for the first homes in Arran and in Millport, and slightly ahead of schedule. More will follow soon and we're delighted to see local villages join more than 100 places of all sizes across the region which can now get better broadband because of the public investment.

"As roll-out reaches our communities it's important to stress people aren't upgraded automatically. If you want a fibre based service you have to order it though an Internet Service Provider."

BT Scotland fibre programme director, Liz Mallinson, said: ”It’s great news for local homes and businesses that we’ve now connected the first properties on Arran and Cumbrae to faster fibre broadband. Thanks to the efforts of Openreach engineers and the challenging subsea cable-laying, more communities are benefiting from the faster speeds on offer. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.

“We’re proud to be at the heart of digital life in Scotland and now that we’ve got the first cabinets established in those areas we can grow our numbers and build a wider fibre footprint in 2016.”

ENDS

*These are the top wholesale speeds available to all service providers via Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC); speeds offered by service providers may vary. Some lines may offer higher speeds.

While many premises in enabled areas now have access to fibre broadband, some may not be able to connect due to network topography and other technological factors. To be sure that you can get fibre broadband, check with your internet service provider.

Background

In November we highlighted the areas where work was started (see below). They will see services go live in stages as we head for the Spring.

Arran - Brodick, Corrie, Lamlash, Lochranza, Shiskine, Whiting Bay Great Cumbrae - Millport

More areas where work is starting will be announced later in January or early February.

Getting fibre to the islands for the first time has been a major engineering project. Subsea cable was laid from Largs to Millport, and for Arran the island was linked to the mainland via two subsea fibre optic cables. These were successfully put in place between Blackwaterfoot and Campbeltown and Corrie and West Kilbride at the end of 2014.

In addition to these subsea cables additional fibre cabling has been laid across Arran to get the network ready for Openreach engineers to begin building the local network which brings the services to people's homes and businesses.

A full list of areas where work has started or is live is available here http://www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhen, and there is also a postcode checker on the same page where people can check their own telephone or postcode details for an idea of progress.

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.