Did I Mention… Digital Scotland fibre broadband is now here in Peterhead?

Internet sensation Estelle helps launch local connections

Estelle Maskame – one of Scotland’s top young novelists and bloggers – took time out this week to welcome the arrival of the Digital Scotland high-speed broadband rollout to her home town of Peterhead.

More than 1,000 homes and businesses in the fishing town are now able to connect to fibre broadband, with more coverage to follow, thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

The local premises are among more than 365,000 across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland rollout. The 1,000 in Peterhead join 8,000 more homes and businesses in the town which are already covered by BT’s commercial roll-out.

The 1,000 in Peterhead join 8,000 more homes and businesses in the town which are already covered by BT’s commercial roll-out.

The technology enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time more quickly than ever before. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.

Estelle was joined by members of the Digital Scotland programme and the Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee, Councillor Stuart Pratt, and Vice Chair, Councillor Anne Allan, to unveil one of the new street cabinets that will serve part of the town.

The 18-year-old writer has just released her debut romance novel, Did I Mention I Love You?, about the relationship of two soon-to-be step-siblings in glamorous Los Angeles, which has made Estelle a sensation across not only in Aberdeenshire but around the globe.

Estelle said: “I started using the digital platform Wattpad to post weekly instalments of my work from the age of 13. The accessibility of that, along with my Twitter, has always kept me motivated. To be in the position that I’m now in – since I knew people were reading my work and enjoying it – is spellbinding. I wouldn’t be where I am without my readers.

“There’s an array of opportunities to be had when you’re connected to the internet. Fibre broadband is something which can open even more doors for you and it was a pleasure to welcome it in my hometown.”

Sending waves all around the world, her hard work resulted in more than four million hits on Wattpad, an extremely loyal fan-base and a book deal from Edinburgh-based Black And White Publishing. The final instalments – Did I Mention I Need You? and Did I Mention I Miss You? will be released for the first time in book and eBook formats in September this year and early 2016.

To welcome the release of Estelle’s debut novel, Digital Scotland is giving the opportunity for one lucky winner to receive a signed copy of her book, Did I Mention I Love You?, and a £10 Waterstones gift card. For more information on how to enter, visit the Digital Scotland Facebook (LINK) and Twitter page (LINK).

The Digital Scotland rollout is being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach. With more than 1,600 new cabinets now installed across Scotland to house the fibre connections, the project underpins the Scottish Government’s aim of delivering world class connectivity by 2020.

Aberdeenshire Council has contributed £16 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities.

Councillor Stuart Pratt said: “It’s really exciting to hear that so many residences in and around Peterhead are already able to connect to fibre broadband. It’s good to see this project reaching more communities in our area, contributing towards the aim of connecting most of our homes and businesses to fibre broadband.

“We know how important access to high-speed internet technology is to both residents and businesses – which is why Aberdeenshire Council chose to invest £16 million into the programme’s rollout. It’s also exciting to have Estelle welcome broadband to her hometown of Peterhead.”

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

“The difference that fibre broadband can make is amazing, giving much more flexibility whether it’s at work or in the home. It makes it all the more satisfying that we had such a talented individual to join in with our celebrations.

“Estelle’s hard work and online success is something which young writers across Scotland can look to. With the opportunities that fibre broadband can provide, I hope that other aspiring writers will be able to benefit when signing up with a service provider. We wish her all the best of luck in her career.”

BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland programme, in addition to its commercial rollout of fibre broadband in Scotland.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Thousands of people in Peterhead now have access to their best ever broadband speeds, and more will follow.

“This Digital Scotland coverage builds on BT’s commercial rollout which covers 8,000 more local homes and businesses, with more than 1.7m Scottish premises now able to access fibre broadband nationwide overall.

“As the fibre network continues to reach across Aberdeenshire, making the most of it is vital. Estelle’s success story is a real inspiration and I hope local people and businesses will soon be taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer.”

Users can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (http://www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen) 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