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Superfast Knitters ‘Yarn-Bomb’ Digital Scotland

Press release   •   Oct 12, 2015 11:57 BST

Knitters from The Souter Stormers - a secretive group behind the recent "yarn-bombing" in Ettrickbridge and Selkirk - clicked with Digital Scotland this week as they helped welcome the arrival of fibre broadband in Selkirk.

Almost 3,400 homes and businesses in the town are now able to connect to fibre broadband, with more to follow, thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

Adding to the town’s unique and creative yarn-bombed landmarks, the latest addition to the knitters’ work was unravelled by the Digital Scotland team… to reveal one of the new street cabinets that will serve part of the town.

The properties in Selkirk join more than 17,500 homes and businesses in the Scottish Borders which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout as engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, continue work on the ground.

They’re among more than 438,000 across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland rollout. The project underpins the Scottish Government’s aim of delivering world class connectivity by 2020.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time more quickly than ever before. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.

The Souter Stormers ‘guerilla group’ caused a delightful stir recently as they yarn-bombed Selkirk as part of the YES (Yarrow – Ettrick – Selkirk) arts festival, which ended in September. The yarnstormers, a group of more than 40 highly imaginative and skilled knittersaged up to 104, yarn-bombed over 40 landmarks in the Scottish Borders. Striking phone boxes, lampposts and even a stature of Sir Walter Scott - under the cover of darkness – their exhibits became an instant hit during the festival.

Kay Ross, spokesman for The Souter Stormers, said: “It was a pleasure that The Souter Stormers could help with the launch of fibre broadband in Selkirk. The group have worked extremely hard over the months, both with their creative and artistic spark and transforming Selkirk into something fun and unique. I hope that Digital Scotland appreciate our take on a cabinet launch event and I look forward to hearing about the benefits that it will bring to everyone in the town.”

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has contributed £8.4 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities.

Councillor Stuart Bell, SBC’s Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “It’s really exciting to hear that so many residences in and around Selkirk are already able to connect to fibre broadband. The work done by The Souter Stormers certainly brought a great twist to the arrival of fibre broadband in the town.

“We know how important access to high-speed internet technology is to both residents and businesses – which is why Scottish Borders Council chose to invest £8.4 million into the programme’s rollout. Fibre broadband will provide many opportunities for homes and businesses, once they sign up to a service provider. Seeing this project develop across the Scottish Borders is something which I feel is exciting to witness.”

Sara Budge, programme director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “With homes and businesses in Selkirk being able to connect fibre broadband, residents will see a positive boost in what they can achieve online, once signing up with a service provider.

“It was fantastic having The Souter Stormers help us with our celebrations and their efforts to yarnstorm one of our new fibre cabinets made this a unique and memorable launch!”

BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland programme, in addition to its commercial rollout of fibre broadband in Scotland.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland Director, said: “Thousands more people in the Scottish Borders now have access to their best ever broadband speeds thanks to the Digital Scotland project. Hopefully the arrival of fibre in Selkirk will be the ‘purl’ in the crown for the town. I hope local people and businesses will soon be taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer.”

Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (/whereandwhen) 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

ENDS

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

While many premises in enabled areas now have access to fibre broadband, some may not be able to connect due to network topography and other technological factors. To be sure that you can get fibre broadband, check with your internet service provider.

Background

The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland. Funding partners include the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund as well as BT.

The Rest of Scotland project is being supported through £157.6million public funding including £50 million from BDUK and BT’s private investment of £106.7million. The public funding includes funding from all 27 local authorities in the project area and additional funding from 14 local authorities who are investing around £51 million to increase coverage, meet local priorities and address the digital divide in their areas. Coupled with the investment in the Highlands and Islands region announced earlier in the year, it brings the total investment in fibre broadband in Scotland to more than £410 million.

The Rest of Scotland project area includes the following local authority areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, parts of Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire (apart from the Islands), North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian.

The Highlands and Islands broadband project is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and includes the following local authority areas: Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), parts of Argyll and Bute and part of North Ayrshire (Islands).

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. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, 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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