Irvine is the latest town in North Ayrshire to gain more high-speed broadband coverage, thanks to Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. Councillor Marie Burns was at the launch on the town’s Low Green Road on Tuesday.
Around 800 households and businesses in Irvine can now access high-speed fibre services as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, building on the town’s existing fibre broadband network.
Local people need to sign up for the new services with an internet service provider as upgrades are not automatic.
Councillor Burns joined the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband team to unveil one of the new fibre street cabinetsthat will serve part of the town.
The premises in Irvine join around 9,400 in North Ayrshire which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout. Other local areas where fibre broadband is now live as part of the programme include Ardrossan, Dalry, Kilbirnie and Kilwinning.
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 outside the Trinity Church, 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.
A small number of Irvine homes and businesses are served by ‘Exchange Only’ lines. These 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.
Councillor Burns said: “I was pleased to join members of Digital Scotland to welcome the arrival of 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 Ayrshire has access to digital services – and the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”
Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s exciting news to hear that fibre broadband is available to homes and businesses in Irvine, thanks to the programme.
“Once signing up with a service provider, there are a number of opportunities that can be had for either your business or home.
“It was a pleasure to have Councillor Burns joining us today with welcoming its arrival. I also hope that the attendees to our drop-in event enjoyed visiting our fibre showcase and found it insightful hearing about the roll-out of fibre broadband.”
Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, added: “Thousands of residents in North Ayrshire 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 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
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
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 180 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. With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.
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