MORE than 90,000 homes and businesses are to get fibre broadband in the latest phase of a £410 million project.
Communities in 18 local authority areas across Scotland will benefit from the high-speed service by this winter under the next stage of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
Most of those communities – such as Macduff, Glamis, Kirkwall, Annan, Kinglassie and Portmahomack – will receive the high speed technology for the first time.
Others – such as Dalgety Bay, Drumchapel, Culloden and Prestwick – will see additional premises connected to existing broadband technology.
Around 55,000 homes and business already have access to fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland initiative. In total over time, more than 750,000 properties are expected to benefit from the scheme.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Today marks another important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband across Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe.
“It’s fantastic news that more communities and businesses around the country will soon begin to see the benefits of high quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term.
“However, this is not the limit of Scotland’s ambition. The Scottish Government’s aim is to deliver world class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device.”
Combined with commercial roll-out plans, around 85 per cent of premises in Scotland are expected to have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015/16 and 95 per cent by the end of 2017/18.
Telecommunications firm BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland scheme, with additional funding from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Government, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.
BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said: “We’re really proud of our role at the heart of Scotland, delivering critical infrastructure which helps the nation to compete on a world stage. We could only reach the parts of Scotland that lay beyond commercial deployment by working with others, and I find it really heartening that so many of our smaller communities now stand to benefit.
“Our ongoing deployment of fibre across the country is one of the biggest civil engineering projects happening in Scotland today and will be to the advantage of generations to come.”
UK Government communications minister Ed Vaizey said: “We understand how important access to superfast broadband is, which is why the UK Government is investing more than £100m in broadband for Scotland. The widespread access to superfast broadband that our rollout will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the Scottish economy.”