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More superfast broadband for Argyll and Bute

Press Release   •  Jun 14, 2017 11:00 BST

Engineers working on the Digital Scotland rollout have reached thousands more premises in Argyll and Bute

More rural communities in Argyll and Bute are now able to connect to high-speed fibre thanks to the £428M Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out.

Thousands of premises in Arrochar, Barbreck, Bridgend, Crinan, Clynder, Kilchrenan, Lochgoilhead, Port Askaig, Port Ellen, Rhu, Tarbet, Rosneath and Whitehouse are now able to receive fibre broadband for the first time.

Access has also been extended to hundreds more homes and businesses in places such as Tighnabruaich, Rothesay and Helensburgh. Further detail is below.

Local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

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.

More than 750,000 premises across the country can now connect to their fastest-ever broadband speeds through the Digital Scotland roll-out, with around 77,000 premises reached by the project in the last six month period.

Many of the latest connections to be upgraded were previously ‘Exchange Only’ (EO) lines, a historic legacy of the copper network once thought to be out of the reach of high-speed fibre services.

Such lines run directly from the exchange to homes and business premises, bypassing the usual road-side cabinets which are a vital part of the fibre roll-out.

Engineers worked out an innovative way to integrate these lines into the fibre network, laying hundreds of metres of new cables to reroute lines through extra road-side cabinets.

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 programme is delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland. Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.

BT is investing £126M, and the total project value includes around £18 million which is being reinvested back in to the programme as a result of stronger than expected early take-up.

Across the country around 3,600 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 8,700km of cable has been laid by engineers from Openreach, the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider – enough to stretch all the way from Glasgow to Philadelphia.

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, said: “More than 90% of Scotland now has fibre broadband available thanks to both the programme and commercial coverage. The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is progressing further and we are starting to reach very small and more remote communities like Clynder, Lochgoilhead and Port Askaig on Islay.

“The Scottish Government is committed to delivering 100% superfast broadband access across Scotland by 2021 and plans are currently being developed to ensure that this is the case. During the summer months our existing programme will continue to advance across the country, bringing high speed broadband to new rural communities.”

Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, said: “The Digital Scotland fibre rollout has continued to make good progress over the last six months. Thanks to engineering innovation, thousands of people on lines once thought to be incapable of carrying a superfast service are now able to upgrade to higher speeds.

“And with strong take-up rates set to drive the reinvestment of millions of pounds back into the network, we look forward to continuing work on this huge and challenging infrastructure project to benefit the people of Scotland.”

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020. Local people can check the Digital Scotland website to find out if they can get a fibre-based service.

Ends

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

Notes to editors

Local communities with new or additional fibre deployment in the latest six-month period thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme are:

ArrocharPort Askaig
BarbreckPort Charlotte
BowmorePort Ellen
CampbeltownRhu
ClynderRosneath
CraignureRothesay
CrinanSouthend
HelensburghTarbet
KilchrenanTaynuilt
LochgilpheadTighnabruich
LochgoilheadWhitehouse

Due to the current network topography and the economics of deployment, it is likely that not all premises within specific areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out.

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 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. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.