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Top marks for Digital Scotland

Press Release   •   May 24, 2016 16:30 BST

It was top marks for Digital Scotland this week, as pupils from St Mary’s Primary School in Lochee helped welcome more fibre broadband to the area.

Almost 1,000 households and businesses connected to the Lochee telephone exchange can now access high-speed fibre services thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, building on the existing fibre broadband network in Dundee.

Local people need to sign up for the new service with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

Pupils from the school helped with the celebrations at a special event on Tuesday. They joined Lord Provost of Dundee - Bob Duncan -as well as Councillor Alan Ross and members from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme to unveil one of the new street cabinets that will serve part of the town.

With the addition of these premises in Lochee, more than 3,100 homes and businesses in Dundee and Broughty Ferry are now able to get access to fibre broadband as a result of the Digital Scotland programme, building on extensive existing commercial networks.

More local coverage will follow as engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, continue work on the ground.

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.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme – in partnership with the Scottish Government and BT – will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans. The £410 million programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.

On the day, pupils from St Mary’s Primary also managed to get a lesson with a difference as they were able to climb aboard the Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase, a unique vehicle which features all of the equipment used in the roll-out of fibre broadband.

It includes kit which is familiar to members of the public - like the new green street cabinets - as well as some of the things they don’t often see, such as how fibre-optic cables are ‘blown’ underground.

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland – the partnership currently reaches more than 580,000 premises across the country, with the rollout continuing at pace.

Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT has invested £126 million in the two projects, in addition to its commercial rollout.

A number of homes and businesses in the Dundee area are served by ‘Exchange Only’ lines which run directly from the exchange to the premises – bypassing the usual road-side cabinets which are integral to the fibre rollout. Engineers are rearranging the existing network, laying new cables to reroute lines through extra road-side cabinets, to overcome this challenge.

Head Teacher at St Mary’s Primary School, Liz Conroy, said: “It was fantastic to have the Digital Scotland team visit the school and getting some of the pupils involved in helping raise awareness of the programme within the area. Having the fibre showcase at the school was also a great opportunity for pupils to see the amount of hard engineering work that’s involved in connecting up communities to fibre broadband. As well as this, it also showed them how beneficial it would be when it comes to their school work and various other aspects of their home life.”

Lord Provost of Dundee, Bob Duncan, said: “It's good to see this project reaching more communities and giving an increasing number of homes and businesses the opportunity to connect to high-speed broadband. We are determined to make sure everyone in Dundee has access to digital services and the skills and confidence to go online and use them, even from a young age.”

Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that many residents and businesses in and around Lochee are now able to receive fibre broadband thanks to the programme, with more local coverage to follow.

“I also hope that the children at St Mary’s Primary School enjoyed visiting our Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase and found it insightful in finding out what fibre broadband can provide and how it’s delivered.

“The difference that fibre broadband can make is amazing, giving much more flexibility whether it’s at work or in the home. Fibre services will have a huge benefit to those in any level of education. With the number of resourcing websites, interactive sites and video streaming channels available, it’ll really bring any subject to life and help children get the best out of their education.”

Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, added: “Thousands of residents in Dundee now have the opportunity to access their best ever broadband speeds when they sign up with a service provider. Many local people are already enjoying the benefits and we’d urge others to consider the benefits of a move to a fibre service. 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.”

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 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. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure. 

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. With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, 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.

    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. With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, 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.