Openreach has outlined plans to deliver ultrafast, full fibre broadband to 25,000 premises across some of the hardest to serve communities in Ayrshire, including Arran. This means fewer homes and businesses will require taxpayer subsidies to upgrade.
More than 160 exchange areas across Scotland will be upgraded, improving broadband speeds for more than 300,000 households and businesses.
Openreach is also delivering the main build for the SNP Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) programme.
The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, on top of 275 jobs across Scotland announced last December.
Openreach Scotland currently has a workforce of around 3,200 people.
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes MSP welcomed the news:
“This is good news for Scotland. The rollout of ultrafast broadband to so many more rural communities is vital as we focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Continued commercial build is an important part of the R100 programme’s aim of providing access to superfast speeds for all premises. This focus on rural and hard-to-reach areas is exactly what I want to see and I look forward to hearing that these 300,000 addresses are connected.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“I am delighted that rural Ayrshire and the Isle of Arran are included in this drive, giving businesses and households access to better and faster broadband.
“According to a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of Openreach, full fibre broadband networks could add £1,940 million to Scotland’s Gross Value Added income annually by enabling up to 76,000 more people to enter the workforce from home. This will have a really positive impact on Ayrshire, its people and economy.
“Openreach will continue to work on the SNP Government’s Digital Scotland R100 programme, ensuring every home and business in Cunninghame North and beyond has superfast broadband access by 2023.
“Although broadband is reserved, given the UK Government’s failure to act, the SNP Government is paying 97% of the cost of this programme through a massive £579 million investment.”