Rob Roy brings high-speed broadband to Callander
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is Scotland’s first National Park to be fibre enabled - thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
More than 1,700 homes and businesses in the Stirlingshire town of Callander can now access high-speed fibre broadband services.
The town’s local ‘hero’, Rob Roy MacGregor, helped celebrate by unveiling one of the new street cabinets which will provide the faster broadband service – declaring the popular tourist town live.
The local premises in Callander 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 project, as engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, continue to deliver the rollout on the ground.
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 – opening a variety of different opportunities. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.
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.
At the event, MacGregor (played by Bob Beverage of the Clanranald Trust) took time out from his schedule at the Rob Roy and the Trossachs Visitor Centre to join local businesses, members of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Stirling Council and BT as well as the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
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.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It’s great news that so many residents, businesses and visitors to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Parks are now able to access fibre broadband in Callander, thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme, with more local coverage in the area to follow.
“Callander being live is just another step towards ensuring that by 2020 Scotland achieves its dream of being a world class digital nation.”
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, said: “We have a growing number of homes and businesses in the National Park who will benefit hugely from this development, not least our tourism businesses who need fast, efficient internet access to maintain a strong presence with customers locally and globally. It will also help meet the expectations of the four million visitors annually who come to enjoy the Park's towns and villages."
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The UK Government's nationwide rollout of superfast broadband continues at pace and it's fantastic to see the huge progress made in Scotland to date. Every day we are reaching another 5000 homes and businesses across the UK and I'm delighted that the residents and businesses of Callander can now benefit from all that superfast speed has to offer."
Stirling Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Neil Benny, said: “It’s really exciting to hear that so many residences in Callander can now 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 a high-speed network.
It’s especially exciting to have one of Scotland’s most important historic figures here to help the town take this technological step into the future. Broadband really will make a big difference to residents and we were happy to see that many of the residents and businesses came along to not only celebrate getting connected, but to get a greater understanding of what broadband can provide.”
BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland programme, in addition to its commercial rollout of fibre broadband in Scotland.
BT Scotland director Brendan Dick concluded: “Bringing fibre broadband to rural communities like Callander is what the Digital Scotland project is all about. The arrival of high-speed connections has the potential to be transformational for tourism and other local business sectors.
“It’ll be exciting to see what innovations are introduced over time by the local community, on the back of the infrastructure, to attract visitors, boost the local economy and enhance Callander’s status as gateway to the Highlands and the Trossachs National Park.
“Building the network is an important first step. We’re working closely with National Parks of Scotland to make sure these high-speed virtual pathways are built in ways that protect the unique environmental and scenic qualities of Scotland’s awesome areas of natural beauty.”
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:
- £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