Fibre broadband boost for Ballater
More than 1,000 homes and businesses in the Aberdeenshire and Cairngorms National Park town of Ballater are now able to connect to fibre broadband - thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
The properties in Ballater join more than 55,000 homes and businesses in Aberdeenshire which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout.
To help local people find out more about the benefits of the high-speed service, a special drop-in event will be held at Church Square from 2-6pm on Tuesday September 29. Anyone in the local community interested in finding out how fibre broadband works and the benefits it can provide is welcome to attend the free event.
Members of the Digital Scotland team will be on hand to get people up to speed with the technology and provide advice on areas such as signing up with a service provider.
Fibre broadband availability in Ballater coincides with the recent announcement of the first areas in the Cairngorms National Park being able to connect to fibre services. The village of Kincraig and parts of Aviemorejoined many homes and businesses in surrounding areas in Aberdeenshire like Aboyne, Tarland and Lumphanan.
The latest premises are among more than 412,000 across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland rollout.
Fibre broadband 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.
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.
Those attending the drop-in event will also be able to climb aboard the new Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase, a specially-adapted vehicle which features all of the equipment used in the roll-out of fibre broadband. The unique vehicle includes equipment 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, as part of the deployment.
All of the homes and businesses in the Ballater area now reached by the Digital Scotland rollout were 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 from Openreach have rearranged the existing network, laying new cables to reroute lines through extra road-side cabinets to overcome this challenge.
Aberdeenshire Council has contributed £16 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities.
Councillor Moira Ingleby, Chairwoman of Marr Area Committee, said: “It’s really exciting to hear that so many residences in and around Ballater 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. We hope to have a good turn-out at the event at Ballater’s Church Square and demonstrate to our residents and various businesses the huge benefits which fibre broadband will provide.”
Gordon Riddler, Board Member of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said: “I am very pleased to see fibre broadband services now available in Ballater.
“The evolving fibre roll out within the National Park – with Kincraig and the first parts of Aviemore also benefiting – is making an important contribution to long term outcomes of the National Park Partnership Plan. Fibre broadband fits well into our plan as it is aimed at developing a sustainable, low carbon economy, supporting thriving businesses and communities; it also enhances the status of the National Park as a “Park for All”.
“Fibre broadband will provide a huge boost for the residents and businesses within the Ballater area when they sign up with a service provider.”
Sara Budge, programme director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that many residents and businesses in Ballater and the Cairngorms National Park area are now able to receive fibre broadband thanks to the programme.
“I’m also excited that we’ll be having our new Digital Scotland fibre showcase there. This will give residents an interesting and detailed idea of what fibre broadband can provide and exactly how it’s delivered.
“The difference a high-speed connection can make is amazing, giving much more flexibility at work or in the home. I hope that local residents will come along to the event at Church Square to get an understanding of the opportunities that can be had with a faster internet connection.”
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, concluded: “Thousands more people in Aberdeenshire now have access to their best ever broadband speeds thanks to the Digital Scotland project. Including BT’s commercial rollout, more than 80,000 Aberdeenshire homes and businesses can now upgrade to high-speed fibre broadband by contacting their service provider.
“As the fibre network continues to extend across the area, making the most of it is vital. I hope local people and businesses will soon be taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer.”
Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (/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
*These are the top wholesale speeds available to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
While many premises in enabled areas now have access to fibre broadband, some may not be able to connect due to network topography and other technological factors. To be sure that you can get fibre broadband, check with your internet service provider.
The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland. Funding partners include the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund as well as BT.
The Rest of Scotland project is being supported through £157.6million public funding including £50 million from BDUK and BT’s private investment of £106.7million. The public funding includes funding from all 27 local authorities in the project area and additional funding from 14 local authorities who are investing around £51 million to increase coverage, meet local priorities and address the digital divide in their areas. Coupled with the investment in the Highlands and Islands region announced earlier in the year, it brings the total investment in fibre broadband in Scotland to more than £410 million.
The Rest of Scotland project area includes the following local authority areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, parts of Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire (apart from the Islands), North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian.
The Highlands and Islands broadband project is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and includes the following local authority areas: Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), parts of Argyll and Bute and part of North Ayrshire (Islands).
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:
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