Villages get broadband for first time

Two areas in South Ayrshire are due to receive fibre broadband for the first time.

Kirkoswald and Turnberry are included in the next stage of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout is set to reach a further 20,000 homes and businesses nationwide as it expands into more rural and remote areas.

The premises are located in 16 local authority areas all across Scotland, in more than 40 communities from Cairnie in Aberdeenshire and Aberfoyle in Stirling to Turnberry in South Ayrshire and Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway.

The first connections will start to go live by Spring of next year, as engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, continue work on the ground.

The Digital Scotland rollout has now passed more than 455,000 premises since it started last year. It means the project is more than half way to its target of making the technology available to 750,000 properties by the end of March 2018.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time and more quickly than ever before. As the higher speeds (up to 80Mbps*) become available, anyone interested in signing up for fibre-based services should contact their broadband service provider.

Vivienne Seeley is one of many thousands of people across Scotland who are already benefitting from fibre broadband.

She set up VivID, a graphic design consultancy, 15 years ago working from her home in St Boswells in the Scottish Borders. The company designs brand identities, websites and other marketing material.

Viv said: “Fibre broadband has made a huge difference to me. I need to send large design files to clients and printers and in the past, this could take ages. The internet connection would often crash and I would need to start again, which was really frustrating. Now, files are sent instantly.”

“I just don’t have to think about the technology any more, I can get on with my business.”

With her husband also working from home as well as two teenage children, Viv explained that before they had a fibre connection, all four of them would compete for the available bandwidth.

“Our two businesses tended to come first, which meant that my sons were frustrated because they could not do what they wanted online such as play X-Box games or download videos. The delays caused tension in the household as we had to take turns to use the available bandwidth. So it is fantastic for us that now everyone can enjoy the same fast speeds regardless of how many people are online at the same time.”

Viv added: “Fibre broadband has made it so much easier to run a business from the family home. With fibre, we can all get on with what we want to do. The icing on the cake is that the fibre connection is costing less than our previous slow broadband connection! We used to pay around £17 a month and now we just pay £10. It’s brilliant! “

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “We are now into the second year of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme and progress continues apace. The roll-out of high-speed broadband has now reached 455,000 homes and business, with on average 7,000 more able to connect each week. Many of these were once thought to be out of reach because they’re linked directly to telephone exchanges, or are located in more rural locations. It is really motivating to see stories such as VivID’s from St Boswells who have benefitted from fibre broadband thanks to the DSSB programme.

“Areas going to benefit from access to high speed broadband for the first time in the coming months include towns like Linlithgow and smaller villages such as Bridge of Dun.

“The Scottish Government is committed to delivering first-rate connectivity in Scotland by 2020, ensuring we are a world class digital nation.”

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “The Digital Scotland rollout has now passed more than half the homes and business premises currently included in our plans and it’s fantastic that our engineers are now reaching into some very small, rural communities, which have so much to gain.

“From this point on, our roll-out becomes increasingly challenging. We’d like communities to be aware this means our plans may sometimes have to change, but we’ll continue to work hard to maintain the great progress to date and bring fast fibre to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

“BT is determined to make sure that Scotland remains at the forefront of the high-speed digital revolution. We’re proud to be working hand in hand with our partners to deliver a truly Digital Scotland. Everyone can keep up to speed with the latest developments at www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen .”

Users can also check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website to find out if they can get the service and further information is available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast