Over 80,000 Scots homes to get superfast broadband

MORE than 80,000 homes and businesses across Scotland could enjoy faster access to the internet under the latest phase of a £410 million superfast broadband programme.

UK Government Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey. Picture: Greg Macvean

A total of 67 locations in 13 local authorities are to be given access to high-speed fibre broadband from spring next year onwards.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project - which is funded by the Scottish and UK governments, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, councils, European cash and money from communications giant BT - will extend access to 15 communities in the Highlands and Islands.

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In addition, more than 40,000 properties in parts of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire are also in line to benefit.

Most places - such as Aberdour, Ballachulish, Banchory, Bishopbriggs, Dalmally and Govan - will receive the high speed technology for the first time, while others will see extra premises connected as a result of building upon existing, or planned, fibre broadband networks.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the announcement was “another important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership”.

She stated: “The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband across our communities in Scotland shouldn’t be underestimated but engineers are working hard and making good progress. One major component - the huge sub-sea project to lay cables out to the islands - is now largely complete.

“It’s also fantastic to see the project extending into places like Joppa in East Ayrshire and Spean Bridge in the Highlands, which will benefit greatly from the economic advantages fibre broadband brings.

“We are still in the early stages of this ambitious partnership project, but it is already delivering for thousands of Scottish homes and businesses who simply wouldn’t have had access to high-speed technology without it.

“It’s a fundamental part of the Scottish Government’s aim to deliver world-class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device.”

UK Government Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The UK Government is investing more than £120 million in the transformation of Scotland’s digital landscape, and today’s announcement of the next 80,000 homes and businesses in Scotland due to benefit from the roll-out of superfast broadband is fantastic news.”

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “The arrival of fibre broadband in these latest communities will be great news for local homes and businesses. In a few months’ time local people will be streaming, shopping, learning and sharing faster than ever before.

“Fibre broadband opens up lots of new online opportunities, whether you’re a busy mum juggling work with homework, a commuter wanting to work from home or a business contemplating moving functions to the cloud.”

He added: “The civil engineering project underpinning this new network is not just one of the biggest in Scotland but is among the most complex anywhere in Europe.”

Mr Dick said dozens of extra engineers were being recruited “to help shape Scotland’s future and many of our young apprentices are gaining valuable experience helping to connect up people to fibre in local communities across Scotland”.