15
June
2015
|
13:20
Europe/Amsterdam

Superfast Broadband is top of the class

Summary
Pupils at Macduff Primary School had a classroom with a difference when the Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase visited them.

Pupils at Macduff Primary School had a classroom with a difference when the Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase visited them.

The Aberdeenshire town of Macduff now has more than 1,900 homes and businesses in the area which can access fibre services thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

The local premises 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 rollout.

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.

The rollout is being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach. 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.

On Thursday, pupils at Macduff Primary were able to climb aboard the new Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase, a specially-adapted vehicle which features all of the equipment used in the roll-out of fibre broadband. The unique vehicle includes equipment which is familiar to members of the public - like the new green street cabinets - as well as some of the things they don’t often see - like how fibre-optic cables are ‘blown’ underground, as part of the deployment. Representatives from Digital Scotland discussed the huge benefits which fibre broadband can provide and how it can help them in their future.

Later on, parents were able to receive a tour of the showcase during the school’s open night, where they had the chance to get up to speed with the technology and get advice on areas such as signing up with a service provider.

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.

Aberdeenshire Council has contributed £16 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities.

Councillor John Cox, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan Area Committee, said: “It’s really exciting to hear that so many residences in Macduff 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.

“Broadband will make a big difference to residents, especially within education where you can access a number of resource material online and carry out research on other schools, colleges and universities for your child’s future.”

Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that many residents and businesses in and around Macduff are now able to receive fibre broadband thanks to the programme, with more local coverage to follow.

“I also hoped that the children at Macduff Primary enjoyed visiting our brand new Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase and found it insightful in finding out what fibre broadband can provide and how
it’s delivered.

“The difference that fibre broadband can make is amazing, giving much more flexibility whether it’s at work or in the home. Fibre services is something that will have a huge benefit to those in any level of education. With the number of resourcing websites, interactive sites and video streaming channels available, it’ll really bring any subject to life and help your child get the best out of their education.”

BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland programme, in addition to its commercial rollout of fibre broadband in Scotland.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Hundreds of people in Macduff now have access to faster broadband speeds, and more will follow. As children in Macduff have been finding out, the possibilities of faster broadband are endless, especially in education. Local businesses will also benefit from being able to do more online, more quickly.”

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

ENDS

*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.

Background

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).

About BDUK
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