Melrose scores a try with Superfast Broadband
The town of Melrose has scored a try in the shape of Superfast Broadband - thanks to the roll-out of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
Players from Melrose rugby club proved that they too were superfast when they joined Scottish Borders Council Leader David Parker and Executive Member for Economic Development Stuart Bell, along with BT’s fibre programme director Liz Mallinson, to launch the service in the town.
The installation of the new infrastructure is part of the roll out of the programme across Scotland, as BT engineers deploy the technology. Its arrival in the town means that many local businesses and residents will be able to benefit from fibre broadband.
The Melrose premises are among more than 56,500 across 14 local authority areas in Scotland which are due to see fibre broadband services offering speeds of up to 80Mbps rolling out in the autumn.
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. Any resident who wants to receive fibre broadband should contact their service provider.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Today marks an important milestone for the people of the Scottish Borders as well as for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership.
“This programme will lay the foundations of a world class digital Scotland by extending fibre broadband access to parts of Scotland that wouldn’t otherwise be served commercially, which is vitally important in communities such as Melrose.
“The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland outstrips any other part of the UK and will generate significant economic benefits, including new jobs and increased productivity.
“This is an important step towards ensuring that Scotland has world-class digital connectivity by 2020. Our investment, and that of our partners in the project, will extend access to superfast broadband across Scotland. This will be a key factor in ensuring Scotland’s long-term economic prosperity.”
The fibre connection at Melrose is one of the first of a programme of installations throughout Scottish Borders from the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. Scottish Borders Council has contributed £8.4 million towards the project.
Councillor Stuart Bell, Executive Member for Economic Development at Scottish Borders Council said : “It is vital that homes and businesses in rural parts of Scotland such as the Scottish Borders get a communications infrastructure that matches the offer in our cities. That is why Scottish Borders Council has put £8.4m of local funding into the Superfast Broadband rollout.
“Our beautiful scenery, and great towns and communities like Melrose, attract visitors and businesses and new residents to come to the Borders; but they need and deserve the best communications capability. The citizens of Melrose will be able to subscribe to these services from today and it can't come soon enough for the rest of the Scottish Borders."
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative 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.
BT Scotland fibre programme director Liz Mallinson said: “This is a big day for Melrose as fibre broadband arrives in the town, bringing with it so much opportunity for local folk and businesses. Through our partnership with BT Murrayfield and the Scottish Rugby Union, BT is making significant investments in grass roots rugby in Scotland and our commitment to the nation doesn’t stop there. We’re proud to be a partner in the Digital Scotland programme, delivering real results for local communities all across the country.”
In total, 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 Development Fund as well as BT.
Westminster Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This fantastic news marks the next stage of a remarkable transformation of broadband in the Scottish Borders and beyond, which will see around 95 per cent of premises in Scotland connected to fibre broadband infrastructure by 2017/18. We understand how important access to superfast broadband is, which is why the UK Government is investing more than £100m in broadband for Scotland. The widespread access to superfast broadband that our rollout will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the Scottish economy.”
Alongside the commercial roll-out of superfast broadband, 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. Locations will be announced quarterly for the life of the projects as the fibre network rolls out.
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