Another 26,000 premises across the country can now get fibre broadband through the SNP Government’s £428 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) rollout.
More than 870,000 premises can connect to the new network which has now reached Highfield for the first time. The high-speed fibre network has also expanded in Skelmorlie.
Each week the programme, one of the largest broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas. Across Scotland around 4,355 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 10,000 km of cable has been laid by engineers from Openreach, Scotland’s digital network business.
Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. Local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the SNP Government in the rest of Scotland – funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.
The Digital Scotland programme expects to confirm shortly, following the usual assurance process, that its 95% fibre coverage target was met at the end of 2017. Crucially, thanks to additional investment and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up, the programme will deliver new DSSB deployment in every local authority area during 2018 and beyond, complementing ongoing commercial build across Scotland.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said:
“Once again it is very positive news knowing that more premises than ever before now have fibre broadband available to them. However, these upgrades are not automatic. I encourage people to check whether they are eligible on the DSSB website and contact a service provider of their choice to start receiving faster broadband.
“I am not complacent – I am aware that those who do not have access are at a disadvantage and our job is not done until everyone is connected. We are now focusing on the next steps to achieve 100% coverage by 2021.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Improved connectivity is vital if we are to grow the economy both here in north Ayrshire and across Scotland. Achieving the 95% target would have been impossible but for the financial support and commitment of the SNP Government. However, much more is still to be done to ensure 100% of homes and businesses in North Ayrshire and across Scotland have full access by 2021; an ambitious target I know the SNP Government is determined to achieve.”
Robert Thorburn, Openreach digital partnership director for Scotland, said:
“The Digital Scotland rollout is a huge success story, especially given the significant extra work and unique challenges posed by our vast geography.
“At the start of the Digital Scotland project we said we’d reach an additional 750,000 premises on top of our commercial investments, and we’ve gone well beyond this. More than 2.5 million Scottish households and businesses now have access to high speed broadband over the Openreach digital network. Of course, there’s more to do and our engineers are keeping up the pace to reach even more remote and rural communities during 2018.”
* These are the top wholesale speeds available over Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.