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MSP Urges Constituents To Connect With Digital Scotland

Monday, 01 August 2016

Emma Harper MSP is getting behind the roll-out of high-speed broadband in her South Scotland region – where more fibre cabinets have recently gone live thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

More than 2,500 households and businesses in the Castle Douglas area can now access high-speed fibre services through the £410 million Digital Scotland roll-out, with 200 premises in nearby Springholm among the latest to be reached.

Across Scotland, around 620,000 premises are now able to connect to fibre-based services through the Digital Scotland project, led by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and delivered on the ground by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

Other partners in the project include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Dumfries and Galloway Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Emma Harper MSP urged local people to consider the benefits of a high-speed fibre broadband connection, which can be ordered through their chosen service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

She visited a local fibre cabinet on Victoria Street in Springholm to explore the engineering behind the technology and hosted a digital drop-in session at her local office to help constituents find out more.

She said: “Fibre broadband has an essential role to play in everyone’s lives – whether at home or in business. It’s great news that thousands of local people across the South Scotland region can now connect to this exciting technology if they choose.

“Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, and it’s good to see today the excellent progress that’s being made.

“The arrival of fibre broadband means local people and firms can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices and there’s lots of evidence to show it boosts the local economy.

“Several constituents across south Scotland have contacted me since I became an MSP in May with concerns about their broadband speeds and I am making representations on their behalf. The work that Digital Scotland has been doing and has planned is helping to address many of these issues, deploying fibre broadband across the area. Earlier this week, I hosted a drop-in event with Digital Scotland in my local office in Dumfries, and am in the process of organising a public meeting in Stranraer. This will allow people to better understand how they may be able to benefit from the roll-out of fibre broadband.

“I firmly believe that access to high speed, robust broadband has a transformational effect on how people live, work and learn, particularly in rural communities. I urge anyone who wants to find out more about fibre broadband to contact my office – or the DSSB programme team to find out if deployment has reached them. I will continue to support my constituents’ interest with the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme and I look forward to fibre broadband being rolled out across the rest of the area.”

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans. It underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.

BT is investing £126m in the partnership on top of its commercial investments in Scotland.

Mark Dames, BT Scotland’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “Across the Openreach network, more than two million Scottish premises can now connect to high-speed fibre broadband and, on average, about one in four households have made the move to the faster speeds now available.

“Driving strong take-up is especially important in areas covered by the Digital Scotland programme, as high adoption rates will trigger the release of further funds for investment into the network. We very much welcome Emma Harper MSP’s efforts to highlight the many benefits this technology offers to her constituents.

“As the UK is one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world, with dozens of providers offering services, people may be pleasantly surprised when they look into the costs of an upgrade to their best-ever broadband speeds.”

Sara Budge, Director of Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “More and more areas of South Scotland are now live thanks to the programme. It’s important that people realise that in order to take advantage of the benefits that fibre brings, you need to sign up with a service provider.

“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back.”

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.

Further information about the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project can be found at and more details on BT’s commercial roll-out are at

*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.