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Fibre boost sails into Rhu thanks to Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband

Press Release   •   Aug 02, 2017 13:56 BST

Caption 1 – Robert Thornburn (Openreach client director for Scotland), Councillor Aileen Morton (Argyll and Bute Council Leader and Policy Lead for Economic Development), Suzanne Bell (Rhu Marina Manager), Lynn Johnston (Contract Manager for HIE )

More than 800 homes and businesses in Rhu are now able to connect to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to the £428M Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

The Digital Scotland team celebrated fibre availability in the Argyll and Bute village this week as they visited a fibre street cabinet that will serve part of the local area. They were joined by Suzanne Bell (Rhu Marina Manager) and Councillor Aileen Morton (Argyll and Bute Council Leader and Policy Lead for Economic Development) who were excited to discover what goes on inside the green street cabinets.

The latest premises are among around 780,000 homes and businesses across Scotland which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout.

Other areas in Argyll and Bute to benefit from the rollout, led by the Scottish Government, include Helensburgh, Rosneath, Clynder, Cardross and Arrochar. 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 - http://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/ - 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.

Suzanne from Rhu Marina said: “It was a pleasure to join the Digital Scotland team to celebrate the availability of fibre broadband in Rhu. It's good to see this project reaching rural communities and giving an increasing number of homes and businesses the chance to connect to high-speed broadband.

“Rhu Marina has various events coming up and we are excited that this infrastructure is in place so that we can benefit - particularly through our online promotion. Rhu Marina also offer free wi-fi to all customers and visitors who can now enjoy high speed, reliable connectivity including all of the pontoons.”

Argyll and Bute Council Leader and Policy Lead for Economic Development, Councillor Aileen Morton, said:

“Superfast fibre broadband will benefit both local residents and businesses. Broadband is a vital part of Argyll and Bute’s present and future. It’s essential that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our local economy to remain competitive.

“Better, faster communications boost businesses, helping them grow, and create more jobs. What’s more, local residents can enjoy faster browsing and downloading at home. This is great news for Rhu and we are determined to make sure everyone in Argyll and Bute has access to digital services and the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”

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. Across Argyll and Bute, more than 24,000 homes and businesses can benefit from fibre broadband, thanks to the programme. 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.

When combined with commercial coverage, around 69 per cent of homes and businesses in Argyll and Bute can benefit from speeds greater than 30Mbps, according to independent website Thinkbroadband.

Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s fantastic news that the programme has been able to launch more fibre broadband to benefit residents and businesses in and around Rhu.

“I would like to thank Suzanne Bell and Councillor Aileen Morton for joining us this week to unveil the fibre street cabinet 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, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT 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 client director for Scotland, said: “Thousands of people in Argyll and Bute now have the opportunity to access their best ever broadband speeds 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.”

Further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast

ENDS

*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.

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 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 180 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 of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com