The £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout has reached another 39,000 households and businesses across Scotland in the latest three-month period.
Residents in dozens more small, rural communities – from Ballinluig in Perthshire to Springholm in Dumfries and Galloway – can now connect to their fastest-ever broadband speeds for the first time.
The traditional crofting village of Clovullin near Ardgour in the Highlands leaps from a service limited to 0.5Mbps to the new speeds of up to 80Mbps*, and around 100 households on Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides are also among those to benefit.
Engineers have now installed more than 7,800 kilometres of new cable – enough to stretch from Loch Ness to Qinghai Lake in China – while the 3,000th new fibre street cabinet built by the huge project has gone live in Orphir on Orkney.
To benefit from the faster connection speeds, residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider, as upgrades aren’t automatic. More coverage is set to follow as the rollout continues.
Across Scotland, the latest progress means more than 660,000 premises are now passed by the Digital Scotland partnership, which is led by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their region.
BT is investing £126 million in the projects with Openreach, its local network business, delivering on the ground. Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.
The independent Think Broadband website shows that nearly 87 per cent of Scottish premises can now access a broadband speed of 30Mbps or above.
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. It enables multiple users to connect to the internet at high speeds and get better access to online services as well as faster uploads and downloads.
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said: “As announced in the Programme for Government, we are putting digital connectivity at the heart of our agenda and delivering 100% superfast broadband for Scotland by the end of the next Parliament is one of our priorities. Enhanced digital connectivity will improve the productivity of businesses and help to build economic growth in remote and rural areas, transforming the prospects for those who live there.”
Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, added: “Every day our engineers are bringing fibre broadband to more Scottish homes and businesses. It’s a massive civil engineering task which is benefiting the whole country, now and for the long term, and they’re doing a fantastic job.
“The difference it makes to people from all walks of life and in all sorts of situations is amazing, whether you’re running a business or have the whole family online at the same time without any slowdowns or frustrations. Whatever you do online, you can do it better and faster with fibre broadband.
“We know there’s more to do. We’re going to invest billions more in our high-speed broadband and mobile networks and use new technologies to boost speeds in rural areas. But with around one in four Scottish premises having made the move to a fibre service, there’s plenty of capacity for many more people to benefit right now.”
Local 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 atwww.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. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure.