High-Speed Fibre Broadband Hits Moray Milestone

More than three-quarters of homes and businesses in Moray now have access to the high-speed fibre broadband network.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project is investing £146m to extend fibre optic broadband to areas across the Highlands and Islands not reached by the private sector’s commercial roll-out.

In Moray, the DSSB project has now made fibre based services available to almost 24,000 premises across 18 towns and villages including: Aberlour, Buckie, Cullen, Dufftown, Keith, Lossiemouth and Longmorn. (Details of roll-out and an interactive map to check availability are on www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhen )

Added to the private sector’s commercial programme in Forres and Elgin this now equates to 75% of premises. The roll-out of services is not yet finished in many towns and villages and at least 9 out of 10 Moray premises will have access by the end of 2016.

The project is led by Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE) and funded by the Scottish and UK governments, HIE and private sector partners BT.

This week, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead met with HIE’s director of digital, Stuart Robertson, and BT’s programme manager for the region, Robert Thorburn, in Rothes to see the final stages of work to start connecting premises there.

Mr Robertson commented: “We’re delighted that so many new premises now have access to high speed fibre broadband in Moray. Customers should be aware that their existing broadband isn’t upgraded automatically, if it’s available they have to order it through an Internet Service Provider.

“For businesses and social enterprises, the new fibre core available in the area means that there is more choice of services available to meet their connectivity needs. There are connection vouchers available, administered through Moray Council, to help with the initial installation costs for eligible organisations and firms.” (See http://www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_99898.html

The fibre broadband network has been rolled out in stages by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach. In most areas it’s delivered through new green fibre broadband cabinets.

Mr Lochhead said: “It’s great that Rothes will soon have the additional opportunity to order high speed fibre broadband, and that the two cabinets in the village could go live within the next few weeks.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring we have first-rate digital infrastructure by 2020, and whilst there is still work to be done, it is great news that 75% of premises in Moray now have access to superfast broadband benefitting thousands of homes and businesses. “

The new network can provide download speeds of up to 80 Mbps*.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, more quickly than ever before. The benefits of faster broadband speeds for businesses are considerable and include sending and receiving files and data more quickly, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and improved opportunities for flexible working.

For households, fibre allows every member of the family to do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds.

Mr Thorburn commented: “Today marks another significant and exciting milestone for Moray. We continue to amass a growing body of evidence supported by independent research, highlighting the real benefits that superfast broadband brings to homes and businesses. The rollout of superfast fibre broadband in Moray and wider across the Highlands and Islands is now connecting communities big and small, transforming local economies and improving lives, which will make a lasting difference.”

Note to editor

*When connected premises could have direct access to download speeds of up to 80 Mbps. These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. Speeds will also vary depending on the distance from the cabinet.

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations, and Community Broadband Scotland can support communities look at alternative options in the areas least likely to be reached by the roll-out.