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Full fibre speeds for Mouswald community

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Fifty more premises in Mouswald, Dumfriesshire can now access full fibre broadband thanks to the Scottish Government’s R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme (SBVS).

Over 2,600 vouchers have been used to help people across Scotland access faster broadband since the introduction of SBVS in 2020. Residents around Mouswald worked together to pool their vouchers and form a community project that was delivered by SBVS registered supplier, Openreach in their first SBVS project.

Mark Smith, a local church minister and chair of the community council has been campaigning for access to faster broadband speeds since the original Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme delivered 74 connections to the area in 2018 and 2019, enabling the Mouswald exchange.

Working with the Scottish Government, Mark and the community highlighted Mouswald as an ideal candidate for Openreach’s Fibre Community Partnership, which can use SBVS vouchers to help with installation costs of the build.

Before Mark received his connection he was finding it very difficult to work from home, especially while on video calls during the pandemic. With a full fibre connection now in place, Mark has noticed a huge difference to his home and working life.

On working from home, Mark said: “Prior to my SBVS connection, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and downloading were exhausting. As a minister, when worship moved online during the pandemic, I struggled to upload pre-recorded services from home.”

Online streaming

“Trying to watch movies etc. was tricky and would take a long time. Emails were okay, although at times the reliability was poor and I would lose internet all together. I can now access Netflix without having to wait ages.”

Family time

“Most of my kids are employed in media. If they were visiting they couldn’t actually work from home, which restricted the time they could spend with us.

“Now we’re able to have more visits from the family who live away as they can now work from home if needed. This is something they were unable to do before. I reckon I now have better broadband than any of them!

“It’s great to have a full fibre connection in place and see how it has made a massive difference across the community, especially for people running local businesses and farmers, who can now do what they need to do online much more easily.”

Scottish Government’s Business Minister, Ivan McKee, said: “This is great news for the community in Mouswald who have worked hard with Openreach to deliver a gigabit capable service using the Scottish Government’s R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.

“This new network will benefit all the connected residents and businesses enabling them to work, learn, and stream online at speeds multiple times faster than before.

“I would encourage other communities, businesses or individual households that need faster broadband to consider the R100 SBVS as a potential solution, which has already delivered over 2,600 new connections across Scotland.”

Clive Downing, R100 Programme Director, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring further connectivity to the residents of Mouswald. This latest development is an excellent example of the R100 voucher scheme, R100 contract build and commercial operation working in unison to deliver as much broadband coverage for the area as possible.”

Robert Thorburn, Partnership Director for Openreach Scotland, said: “While many households in Mouswald were upgraded in previous investment cycles, these 50 properties missed out. It’s been a long path for the affected residents, but they never gave up.

“We were determined to find an answer for them, and the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme provided the additional funding needed to let us go ahead with a full fibre build.”

He added: “The upgrade delivers ultra-reliable, fast and future-proof broadband links. We’re thrilled that these households finally have access to brilliant broadband and we plan to build even more full fibre locally under the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% programme.”

Are you eligible for the R100 SBVS?

If your property’s current broadband connection is less than 30 Mbps and there are no plans for it to be connected to a faster service via the R100 contracts or commercial build, you could be eligible for a voucher worth up to £5,000.

The voucher can be used by homes and businesses to access a range of technologies such as fixed wireless, mobile, fibre to the premises or satellite. It’s also specifically designed to allow vouchers for a single property, or to be combined in a community project.

Check your address find out the status of your property and eligibility for SBVS.

Find out more about Openreach’s Fibre Community Partnership scheme.