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Midlothian Science Festival gets up to speed with Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband

Press Release   •   Oct 20, 2016 10:56 BST

Councillor Jim Bryant, Midlothian Science Festival's Sarah Keer-Keer and Openreach's Ian Young take a look at the inner workings of fibre broadband

Attendees of the Midlothian Science Festival got up to speed with the fibre technology of Digital Scotland’s Superfast broadband this week. More than 3000 homes and businesses in Midlothian are now able to connect to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

Sarah Keer-Keer, a director of the Midlothian Science Festival, and Councillor Jamie Bryant, of Midlothian Council, joined members of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband team to unveil one of the new street cabinets that will serve part of Newtongrange.

Councillor Jim Bryant said: “It was a pleasure to join the Digital Scotland team to announce more fibre broadband in Midlothian. It's good to see this project reaching more communities and giving an increasing number of homes and businesses the chance to connect to high-speed broadband. We’re determined to make sure that everyone in Midlothian has access to digital services – and the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”

To have access to this latest fibre broadband technology local people need to sign up for the new services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

Other nearby places where premises have benefited from the Digital Scotland rollout, led by the Scottish Government, include Ford, Temple, Gorebridge, Dalkeith and Penicuik. More local coverage will follow as engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, continue work on the ground.

Sarah Keer-Keer added: “It is very exciting news that Newtongrange is now covered by fibre broadband. It will certainly have a positive impact on the area.

“The Midlothian Science Festival runs until the 22nd October 2016 at locations throughout Midlothian. We use the festival to cultivate curiosity and communicate the power of knowledge and creativity. Improved internet connections will allow local people to stay in touch regarding our events throughout the festival. As we are interested in communicating the message of curiosity, it was great to be able to learn about the technology that is used to connect fibre broadband to the area.”

Across Scotland, more than 645,000 premises are now able to connect to fibre-based services through the £410 million Digital Scotland project, led by the Scottish Government. That includes around 300 households and businesses in Newtongrange, building on existing commercial coverage locally.

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 exciting news to hear that fibre broadband is available to homes and businesses in Midlothian thanks to the programme.”

BT is investing £126m in the Digital Scotland rollout, in addition to its commercial coverage. Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, concluded: “The independent ThinkBroadband website shows that thanks to the DSSB programme and commercial investments, more than 82 per cent of premises in Midlothian can now access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps and above.

“The Digital Scotland rollout is working hard to fill the gaps and it’s great news that thousands more Midlothian households now have the opportunity to access their best ever broadband speeds when they sign up with a service provider. The benefits of superfast connections are endless – from education and business to entertainment, everyone can benefit.”

People can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (http://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/) to find out if they can get the service and 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.

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.

 

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 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

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