BELEAGUERED broadband users in Girvan are to get a boost from BT as it rolls out fibre-optic broadband to the Carrick town.
Girvan was this week named as one of 35 Scottish locations in the telecoms company’s latest expansion of superfast broadband services.
Scheduled for installation next year, the town’s upgrade will be part of BT’s commitment to deliver fibre connections to two-thirds of the UK population by the end of 2014 – including more than a million Scottish homes and businesses.
Fibre broadband is an alternative to basic ADSL broadband, which uses copper telephone wires to connect homes to the nearest exchange.
An Ofcom report released earlier this year revealed only one per cent of customers using up to 20/24Mbps broadband received a download speed of more than 18Mbps, and for rural customers the average was just 3.6Mbps.
Fibre broadband works by sending information as pulses of light through optical fibres. These suffer less interference, maintain signal strength over larger distances and operate at a higher frequency range, resulting in faster connection speeds.
Richard Patterson, director of broadband comparison website Broadband-Expert explained that while ADSL connections deteriorate with distance from the exchange – which in Girvan is on Ailsa Street East – fibre broadband is not affected by proximity.
Nor does it suffer from a limited capacity that slows connection speeds at peak times, with the result that access to high bandwidth or data-intensive facilities – such as catch-up television and video sharing sites – is smoother regardless of time or location.
“It means people won’t be so impacted by where they live and you’ll be able to do a lot more with your connection,” Richard said. “Having fibre-optic in the community is going to make a big difference.”
BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said the new service will revolutionise the way people in Carrick use the internet.
“The network we’re building today will underpin the local economy for many years to come, and we’re keen to go further, working with the public sector to take technology to places outside current commercial roll-out plans,” he said.
Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Clark said the roll-out of faster broadband would go some way to resolving the economic challenges raised at August’s meeting with Finance Secretary John Swinney.
“My only hope is that this standard and quality of service can be funded and rolled out to all of the rural parts of South Carrick where it is badly needed and would fit with Scottish Government Strategy,” he said.
Carrick MSP Adam Ingram agreed, saying equality of access across the constituency must be ensured. “I will continue to make the case for this with both service providers and the Scottish Government,” he said.
Scottish Government Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Nicola Sturgeon, also welcomed the announcement.
“It is essential that households and businesses everywhere in Scotland have access to high-speed connectivity and fibre broadband will play a key role in enhancing our digital offering,” she said.
Visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk for more information.