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Cabinet Secretary splices fibre as rollout reaches milestone

Press release   •   Mar 15, 2016 13:12 GMT

On the eve of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme’s second anniversary, Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities helped splice fibre optic cable ensuring that another tranche of homes and businesses can now access high speed broadband.

Mr Brown’s visit comes as over 85 per cent of homes and businesses across Scotland now have access to fibre broadband, with around 550,000 premises benefiting thanks to the Digital Scotland roll-out. The programme underpins the Scottish Government’s commitment for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.

Located on Ferry Gait Drive, Edinburgh, the cabinet visited by Mr Brown this morning delivers fibre broadband to premises within its proximity and is one of 2,480 new street cabinets across Scotland that have been built, thanks to the £410 million DSSB programme. At the moment 189 cabinets across the capital have been enabled thanks to the programme with more to follow in the coming months.

During the visit, Barrie Sweenie, an Openreach engineer who has worked on fibre deployment for over four years, showed Mr Brown how to splice fibre and how the internal workings of the cabinet operate.

Keith Brown said: “I am delighted to have worked with Barrie today on another important milestone for the programme. More and more cabinets across the capital are now starting to go live thanks to the programme. In total, including work that the programme has done and commercial coverage over 89 per cent of the capital now has access to fibre broadband.

“The programme, which has gone from strength-to-strength since its launch in April 2014, is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is another example of how being in the European Union is vital to help Scotland’s economy continue to grow and prosper.”

Andy Hepburn, Openreach Director for the rollout of high-speed broadband in Scotland, said: “Halfway through the Digital Scotland rollout we’re on budget and ahead of schedule. Hundreds of thousands of Scottish premises can connect to our high-speed broadband network today, including around 164,000 in Edinburgh.

“The DSSB programme is one of the largest current infrastructure projects in the whole of Europe and the planning task alone is formidable. We’re building a robust, secure national network which will meet Scotland’s high-speed digital demands well into the future.

“We aim to reach as many people as possible with the funds available and every week services arrive in more rural and remote communities, as well as those in urban areas where commercial upgrades weren’t an option. With two years to go, there’s much still to do and we’re ready for the challenges ahead.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, Convener for Economy with the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Having this infrastructure in place will provide a great boost to our business community and act as a major draw for future inward investment. Firms can look forward to benefitting from much faster speeds which will allow them to operate more efficiently, work in new ways and exploit new business opportunities.

“Residents will be able to access the same level of superfast service - something which will be warmly welcomed when you consider average households have seven gadgets and devices connected to their internet at any one time.

“With 89 per cent of the capital now connected, thousands of homes and businesses will notice a real difference to the quality of their connections if they subscribe to the new services. Find out whether your area is ready and how to take advantage of the roll-out at the Scotland Superfast website.”

Sarah Eynon, Head of Deployment with Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that many residents and businesses in and around Edinburgh are now able to receive fibre broadband thanks to the programme, with more local coverage to follow.

“The difference that fibre broadband can make is amazing. Once people have signed up with a service provider, it will give much more flexibility whether it’s at work or in the home.”

ENDS

Background

The DSSB programme – in partnership with the Scottish Government and BT – 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.

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland the partnership enters its second year in April. Over 550,000 homes and business across Scotland can now access fibre broadband thanks to the programme – and in total over 85% of the country now have to access to fibre broadband.

Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT has invested £126 million in the two projects, in addition to its commercial rollout.

Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (http://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/) to find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast

Caption: Members of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband team meet Keith Brown. L-R Andy Hepburn, Openreach director of the fibre broadband rollout in Scotland, Cllr Gavin Barrie, engineer Barrie Sweenie, Keith Brown MSP and Sarah Eynon, head of deployment with Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband.

About BDUK

Superfast Britain is a UK Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:

  • £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
  • £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
  • £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
  • Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

    For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

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