Stewart Stevenson MSP urges constituents to connect with Digital Scotland
Stewart Stevenson MSP is getting behind the roll-out of high-speed broadband in his Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency – where fibre is now available in places like Banff, Macduff, Portsoy and Aberchirder thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
Thousands of households and businesses in the Banffshire and Buchan Coast area can now access high-speed fibre services through the £410 million Digital Scotland roll-out, with more premises in the region set to benefit in coming weeks and months.
Across Scotland, more than 640,000 premises are now able to connect to fibre-based services through the Digital Scotland project, led by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their area and delivered on the ground by Openreach, BT’s local network business.
Other partners in the project include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Aberdeenshire Council and the European Regional Development Fund.
Stewart Stevenson MSP urged local people to consider the benefits of a high-speed fibre broadband connection, which can be ordered through their chosen service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
He visited a local fibre cabinet on Seafield Street in Banff to explore the engineering behind the technology and hosted a digital drop-in session near his local office to help constituents find out more.
He said: “Fibre broadband has an essential role to play in everyone’s lives – whether at home or in business. It’s great news that thousands of local people across Banffshire and Buchan Coast can now connect to this exciting technology if they choose.
“Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, and it’s good to see today the excellent progress that’s being made.
“The arrival of fibre broadband means local people and firms can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices and there’s lots of evidence to show it boosts the local economy.
“I look forward to fibre broadband being rolled out across the rest of my constituency.”
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans. It underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.
BT is investing £126m in the partnership on top of its commercial investments in Scotland.
Mark Dames, BT Scotland’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “Across the Openreach network, more than two million Scottish premises can now connect to high-speed fibre broadband and, on average, about one in four households have made the move to the faster speeds now available.
“Driving strong take-up is especially important in areas covered by the Digital Scotland programme, as high adoption rates will trigger the release of further funds for investment into the network. We very much welcome Stewart Stevenson MSP’s efforts to highlight the many benefits this technology offers to his constituents.
“As the UK is one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world, with dozens of providers offering services, people may be pleasantly surprised when they look into the costs of an upgrade.”
Sara Budge, Director of Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “More and more areas of Banffshire and Buchan Coast are now live thanks to the programme. It’s important that people realise that in order to take advantage of the benefits that fibre brings, you need to sign up with a service provider.
“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back.”
Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.
Further information about the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project can be found at http://www.scotlandsuperfast.com and more details on BT’s commercial roll-out are at www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
Notes to editors
Due to the current network topography and the economics of deployment, it is likely that not all premises within selected exchange areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure.