26
December
2014
|
10:19
Europe/Amsterdam

Fibre broadband reaches 170,000 homes and businesses for Christmas

Summary
More than 170,000 homes and businesses in communities across Scotland now have access to fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has announced today.

Broadband now live in 160 locations across Scotland thanks to programme

More than 170,000 homes and businesses in communities across Scotland now have access to fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has announced today.

The £410m Digital Scotland programme provides fibre broadband infrastructure to areas not covered by the private sector’s commercial deployment.

The first premises in a further 15 locations from places like Portsoy and Newmachar in Aberdeenshire and Strathmiglo in Fife to Dalrymple in East Ayrshire, Maybole in South Ayrshire and Sandhead and Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway are now able to connect to the Digital Scotland rollout with access to superfast broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps.*

Many more will be able to benefit as engineers from BT’s local network division, Openreach, continue work on local upgrades. A full list of the 15 locations is shown at the end of this news release.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This further rollout of superfast broadband will allow even more households to connect to fibre broadband services for the first time, as well as giving businesses the opportunity to enhance their services.

“This Government is committed to ensuring that Scotland has truly world-class digital infrastructure by 2020. Bridging the digital divide is a critical element within our overall digital strategy.

“We are still in the early stages, but already thousands of Scottish homes and businesses are able to take advantage and sign up. They simply wouldn’t have had access to high-speed technology without this ambitious partnership project.”

BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said: “2014 has been a year of great progress on Scotland’s digital journey. We’re ending on a high note by passing another milestone in our partnership with the public sector, with an additional 20,000 premises able to connect to the Digital Scotland network since mid-November.

“Including our commercial rollout, Openreach’s fibre network now passes more than 1.4m Scottish homes and businesses, with the number able to get high-speed broadband growing by 10,000 a week during 2014.

“Fast internet connections can make a real difference to day-to-day home and working life, perhaps especially in our rural and remote communities, and we are proud to be helping to make it happen across Scotland.”

Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Better broadband is already available to more than 30,000 homes and businesses across Highland, Argyll, Shetland and Moray – all because of this public investment. We are looking forward to a happy new year for many more rural areas as the new fibre network continues to stretch out to those who could not have been reached otherwise.”

Ed Vaizey, UK Government Minister for Digital Economy, said: “Investing in superfast broadband is a key part of the UK Government’s plan to bring world class connectivity to our homes and businesses. We recognise that the growing demands of the digital age will have a significant impact on the UK's competitiveness. We are making great progress in Scotland and the rest of the UK with our broadband rollout so that we're a more efficient and attractive place to do business.”

People should contact their service providers to check availability and order the new service or visit www.digitalscotland.org to find out more and register with ‘Keep Me In The Loop’ for updates on the rollout’s progress.

Case study

If you’re thinking of keeping up with tradition this Boxing Day and booking your summer holiday, then there is a good chance that the online booking form you use, was set up and is managed by SuperControl.

The Scottish company supplies online booking systems and management tools used by holiday accommodation businesses in more than 30 countries, some as far afield as Dubai and Australia.

SuperControl has managed bookings worth over £317 million for its clients in the past year, working with Visit Scotland, as well as companies like Trip Advisor. Boxing Day is particularly busy, being a peak time for online booking of summer holidays.

Now, thanks to the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, SuperControl is just one of the many businesses starting to benefit from fibre broadband.

More than 170,000 homes and business are now able to connect to fibre broadband, thanks to the government backed programme which is rapidly expanding across Scotland. And even more will be able to connect in the months ahead as engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, press ahead with the roll-out across the country.

The new infrastructure will mean that multiple users in a home or business will be able to access the internet and download and share large files at the same time and more quickly than ever before, if they sign up to the service.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme aims to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to areas not covered by commercial deployment. Combined with commercial roll-out plans by the private sector, around 85% of premises in Scotland will have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015/16 and 95% by the end of 2017/18.

Owner of SuperControl, Robert Kennedy said: “We will be able to make significant cost savings as a direct result of connecting to fibre broadband, thanks to the programme.”

The company is based in Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway and was founded in 2007 by Robert and Melinda Kennedy. The company has grown steadily and gone from strength to strength now employing 20 staff at its office in Castle Douglas.

With more than 24,000 properties using the company’s system around the globe, the business depends on handling a massive amount of data, which had been stored at remote servers.

Robert added: “Now, we can store the data on our own servers in-house. This was simply not possible before we had a fibre connection and this alone will save us thousands of pounds a year.”

Members of Robert’s team are also able to work easily from home, thanks to the fibre connection.

Robert said: “One of our developers lives in Poland and now he can work as part of our team just as effectively as if he were in our office in Scotland. It’s also great to know I can connect to all our files and office systems from my mobile with absolute reliability, when I am travelling.”

As the company is an internet business selling cloud based services, broadband speed is a critical issue for them.

Robert explained: “When the company was first set up, we worked from an office at our remote farmhouse, with download speeds of around 2Mbps. This was barely viable and so we moved to Castle Douglas in 2012, as there we could enjoy speeds of 15Mbps download and 0.5 Mbps upload. At the time, this was an improvement, but now being able to make the next step up to superfast fibre speeds is amazing. We can now count on speeds of 70Mbps download and 19 Mbps upload. This opens all kinds of new opportunities for us and the improvement in upload speeds in particular really transforms what we can do, improving our productivity and taking the business to a new level.

“With such significant cost savings to the business, it is really incredible that our fibre broadband connection costs us no more than we were paying for our previous broadband connection! Fibre broadband really has been great news for our business.”

Robert added: “Now that we have superfast fibre connectivity, the world really is our oyster. We can continue to expand the business and run a successful global business from our base here in Castle Douglas thanks to fibre broadband.”

Notes

*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 full list of the 15 new locations where the first fibre delivered through the Digital Scotland programme since mid-November is now live is:

Area Local Authority ABERDEEN PORTLETHEN* Aberdeenshire GARDENSTOWN Aberdeenshire NEWMACHAR Aberdeenshire PORTSOY Aberdeenshire TORPHINS Aberdeenshire PORT WILLIAM Dumfries & Galloway SANDHEAD Dumfries & Galloway WIGTOWN Dumfries & Galloway DALRYMPLE East Ayrshire COWDENBEATH* Fife DALGETY BAY* Fife STRATHMIGLO Fife GLASGOW CROFTFOOT Glasgow City INCHTURE Perth & Kinross MAYBOLE South Ayrshire

*These locations already had access to some commercial fibre broadband with the Digital Scotland rollout providing additional coverage.

Background

Today’s announcement means many more families can now connect to these services for the first time, as well as enabling businesses and organisations to diversify and expand their services.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time and more quickly than ever before.

The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland. Both projects are being delivered on the ground by BT, which is investing £126m in the programme.

More than three quarters of a million homes and business premises are expected to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative. 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.

Alongside commercial roll-out, the Digital Scotland programme will see around 95 per cent of premises in Scotland able to connect to fibre broadband infrastructure by the end of 2017/18. Locations will be announced quarterly for the life of the projects as the fibre network expands.

A new interactive map is live on the Digital Scotland website, to help users find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast

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