Huntly residents get a superfast Christmas as digital Scotland unwraps fibre broadband
Santa gave residents and small business owners in Huntly a superfast Christmas in the form of fibre broadband, when he unveiled one of the new cabinets that will serve the town.
More than 1,100 residents in the area are now able to get connected to the high-speed service. 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.
To celebrate the advent of fibre broadband, locals in the town were treated to a special appearance from Father Christmas at the Stewarts Hall on Gordon Street on Wednesday 10 December. Tearing through the wrapping paper, Santa unveiled the town’s new fibre cabinet, which will allow residents to access broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps*.
Thousands of homes and businesses in Aberdeenshire and Huntly are among more than 150,000 premises across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. The rollout is being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach.
In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.
At the Stewarts Hall on Wednesday, attendees heard about the benefits that fibre broadband can provide from the Chair of the Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Peter Argyle; Donald Boyd from the Huntly Development Trust; and Roddy Matheson from Aberdeenshire Council; as well as representatives from the programme. They were also at hand to get people up to speed with the technology itself and provide advice on subjects like signing up to a service provider, paying bills and accessing council services.
There was also an early Christmas treat for Jill Andrews from Cornhill who won the free festive prize draw and received some Christmas goodies.
Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Jim Gifford, said: "I'm very pleased with the number of residents who attended the Huntly event to celebrate the town’s connection to fibre broadband. It makes it all the more exciting 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. Improving digital connectivity for homes and businesses in Aberdeenshire is a key priority for the council and we have invested more than any other local authority in the UK to make this happen."
Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that Huntly can now receive fibre broadband thanks to the programme. 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 knowing that it’s had such a welcoming response from Huntly’s residents, especially for something that will be a huge benefit to their lives.”
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Hundreds of people in Mintlaw are ending the year on a high note with access to their best ever broadband speeds. If you haven’t already considered signing up for faster fibre broadband with your service provider, why not make it your new year’s resolution?”
A new interactive map is live on the Digital Scotland website (http://www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen), 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
*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. In total, more than three quarters of a million homes and business premises are expected to benefit, with around 95 per cent of Scottish premises passed by the fibre broadband network by the end of 2017/18, including commercial deployment.
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:
• £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