Minister kicks off new superfast campaign
Monday 14th May 2018
Rural affairs and connectivity minister Fergus Ewing MSP today helped to launch the latest phase of a major campaign to encourage more people to sign up to fibre broadband.
Across Scotland, more than 95 per cent of the country can now access fibre broadband thanks to the £428M Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme and commercial coverage.
Mr Ewing was joined by DSSB Director Sara Budge and Robert Thorburn, Fibre Broadband Partnership Director for Openreach, launching the ‘Up your Street’ campaign. The branded ad van then began a month-long tour of Scotland from Cramond in Edinburgh.
To benefit, people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
The DSSB programme is delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland. Funding partners also include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.
Thanks to the programme more than 890,000 premises across the country are able to connect to the new network, which has reached places like Amisfield, Dumfries and Galloway; Linlithgow, West Lothian; and Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire.
Each week the programme, one of the largest broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas.
Mr Ewing said: “Fast and reliable internet is absolutely vital to communities across Scotland. It helps businesses stay connected with customers and colleagues, and helps families learn, work, play and shop. People increasingly expect more flexibility, reliability, and faster speeds when downloading or sharing files, streaming videos with colleagues, friends or family, and creating more elegant solutions to modern business problems.
“So it’s great that the success of the DSSB programme, combined with coverage by commercial means, has enabled over 95% of Scotland gain access to fibre broadband.
“That said, there are still many that have not taken advantage of this improvement and I would encourage everyone to check whether they are eligible for a faster broadband service than they currently receive, either with their current provider or on price comparison websites.
“But the Scottish Government isn’t stopping there – I am acutely aware that there are still those that have not benefitted from the current programme and that is why we are extending superfast broadband access to every home and business in Scotland by the end of 2021 – the only part of the UK to do so.”
Thanks to additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up, the programme will continue to deliver new DSSB deployment in every local authority area during 2018 and beyond, complementing the fact that more premises than ever before now have fibre broadband available to them.
Robert Thorburn, Fibre Broadband Partnership Director for Openreach in Scotland, said: “Across the country more than 95 per cent of premises can now order a fibre broadband service, and strong take-up has already helped generate more funds to invest back into the network. I’d urge all residents and businesses to touch base with their service providers to make sure they’re getting the fastest service available. Once you’ve switched to life in the fast lane, there is no going back!”
The Ad-van is on tour across the country, visiting places like Aberfeldy, Colinsburgh, Jedburgh, Banchory and Lockerbie.
* 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.