Hatton residents get a better ‘byte’ with fibre broadband
Engineers have been working on major technical challenges so that more than 600 homes and businesses in the Aberdeenshire village of Hatton can connect to fibre broadband – thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
To help local people find out more about the benefits of the high-speed service, a special drop-in event will be coming to the village next week.
The local premises are among more than 275,000 across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband 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 rollout is being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach. With more than 900 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.
Many of the homes and businesses in the Hatton area 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 rearranged existing network and laid new cables to reroute lines through extra road-side cabinets to overcome the challenge.
Anyone in the local community who is interested in finding out how fibre broadband works and the benefits it can provide can go along to a special drop-in event outside Hatton Village Hall from 10am-1pm on Saturday 20th June 2015. Members of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme 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.
Those attending 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.
Aberdeenshire Council has contributed £16 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities.
Stuart Pratt, Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee and local councillor, said: “It’s really exciting to hear that many residents in and around Hatton are now 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. With the event by the Village Hall, we hope to have a good turn-out and demonstrate to our residents, and other surrounding communities, the huge benefits which fibre broadband will provide.”
Anne Allan, Chair of Hatton Area Residents Association (HARA), welcomed the arrival of fibre broadband to the village. She said: “Faster internet connections present many opportunities for both local residents and local businesses. Many local premises can now connect and we look forward to further progress to extend the network beyond its current confines. The commitment from Aberdeenshire Council and Digital Scotland to look at ways to widen high speed internet availability beyond our towns and villages to more rural areas is good news.”
Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “Rolling out high-speed broadband to communities that were once thought to be out of reach is another step forward for our £410m infrastructure project. I’m delighted that Hatton will be receiving fibre broadband.
“The difference it can make is amazing, giving much more flexibility whether it’s at work or in the home. I hope that local residents will come along to visit our new fibre showcase and get an understanding of the boost they can expect from a fast fibre broadband 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: “Some areas in Scotland have a higher than average number of lines connected directly to the local exchange. This was often an advantage with first generation broadband over copper, but created additional challenges when it came to high-speed fibre.
“Our engineers found an innovative way forward to give residents the chance to become part of the fibre broadband revolution. It’s just one of the challenges in this highly complex engineering programme, but the roll-out is progressing well. I hope local people and businesses in Hatton will soon be taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer.”
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme aims to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to parts of Scotland not included in commercial providers’ investment plans. Combined with current commercial roll-out plans, 85 per cent of premises in Scotland will have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015/16 and around 95 per cent by the end of 2017/18.
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
*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:
• £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