A member of the renowned Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band gave a special one-off performance this week as he piped in the arrival of fibre broadband to Shotts.
More than 3,700 households and businesses in Shotts can now access high-speed fibre services thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. Local people need to sign up for the new service with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
Pipe band member Dan Evans led the celebrations at a special event on Tuesday. He was joined by North Lanarkshire Council local councillor and Provost James Robertson, Regeneration Convener Cllr Allan Graham, Cllr Charles Cefferty and the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband team to unveil one of the new street cabinets that will serve part of the town.
Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band is one of the most successful and celebrated pipe bands in the history of piping. Having won the RSPBA World Pipe Band Championships 16 times, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia has been an institution in the pipe band world for over a century. For more information, visit their website http://www.shottspipeband.com/
The Shotts premises join more than 20,000 in North Lanarkshire which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout. Other local areas now live thanks to the programme include Plains, Chryston, Caldercruix and Harthill, while the existing fibre network has been extended in towns such as Wishaw, Motherwell, Coatbridge and Bellshill.
Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.
Whether you own a business, work from home or want to keep in touch with friends and family, fibre broadband enables multiple users to connect to the internet at high speeds and get better, faster access to online services.
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband 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. The £410 million programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.
On the day, residents were also able to attend a special drop-in event at the Shotts Healthy Living Centre, where the Digital Scotland team was on hand to get people up to speed with the technology and provide advice on areas such as signing up with a service provider.
Attendees were also able to climb aboard the Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase, a unique vehicle which features all of the equipment used in the roll-out of fibre broadband.
It includes kit which is familiar to members of the public - like the new green street cabinets - as well as some of the things they don’t often see, such as how fibre-optic cables are ‘blown’ underground.
Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland – the partnership currently reaches more than 554,000 premises across the country, with the rollout continuing at pace.
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.
Dan Evans, from Shotts Pipe Band, said: “It was a pleasure to help pipe in the arrival of fibre broadband to the area and find out about the Digital Scotland rollout. High-speed broadband will be a huge boost for everyone across the town.
“From the band’s point of view, it’ll have a positive effect for people who wish to access our website to find out our latest news and tour dates, as well as the band’s rich history.”
Councillor Allan Graham, Regeneration Convener, said: “I was pleased to join members of Shotts Pipe Band, fellow Councillors and Digital Scotland to announce more fibre broadband in the town. It's good to see this project reaching more communities and giving an increasing number of homes and businesses the opportunity to connect to high-speed broadband. We’re determined to make sure everyone in North Lanarkshire has access to digital services – and the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”
A number of homes and businesses in the Shotts area are served by ‘Exchange Only’ lines which run directly from the exchange to the premises – bypassing the usual road-side cabinets which are integral to the fibre rollout. Engineers will rearrange the existing network, laying new cables to reroute lines through extra road-side cabinets, to overcome this challenge.
Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that many residents and businesses in and around North Lanarkshire 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.
“It was fantastic having the talented Shotts Pipe Band help us with our celebrations. I hope that the band members will be able to use the new technology to enjoy even greater success in the future.”
Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, added: “Thousands of residents in North Lanarkshire now have the opportunity to access their best ever broadband speeds when they sign up with a service provider. Many local people are already enjoying the benefits and we’d urge others to consider the benefits of a move to a fibre service. There’s lots of competition out there and people may find they could be surfing at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service.”
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
*Our deployment plans are subject to change. The expectations reflected in this plan are reasonable, but because our rollout involves risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ from those expressed or implied.
**These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
Shotts Pipe band member Dan Evans pipes in the new fibre cabinet.
Notes to editors
Due to the current network topography and the economics of deployment, it is likely that not all premises within selected exchange areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure.
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:
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk
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.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com.