A government-backed scheme to roll out fibre broadband across Scotland means a further 660,000 premises can now connect to a superfast supply.
The milestone was reached after a cabinet in Leadhills, South Lanarkshire, went live and was the latest to be delivered through the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme.
Strong take-up figures and efficiencies in the scheme means an additional 6,000 premises across the Highlands and Islands are set to be connected in the new year, taking access in the region to 86%.
“Today’s milestone shows our investment in the digital superfast broadband programme is paying off, Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, told parliament in an update on the scheme’s progress today.
“We are on track to delivering fibre access to at least 95% of premises in Scotland by the end of 2017, compared to just 66% that would have been delivered without our intervention.
“Higher than expected uptake of services through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme has meant that we are now able to reinvest in the programme to push coverage even further and extend the benefits of reliable broadband to even more people across the Highlands and Islands.
He added:“Increased connectivity, however, is only one strand in our digital ambition for Scotland. As outlined in our Programme for Government, we will bring forward a refreshed digital strategy in the new year, that outlines the role digital can play from improving skills and participation to developing our digital economy, public services and cyber resilience.
“We must not be complacent though. Although we are making good progress, there is much that still needs to be done to ensure all citizens can benefit from the opportunities presented by increased digitalisation,” he said.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “The Digital Scotland rollout is a massive civil engineering undertaking, unparalleled anywhere in the UK. With any civil project on this scale there are many potential pitfalls. It’s a credit to our engineers that we’re not only on time and on budget, but able to free up more funds earlier than planned to reach more premises.
“In total, more than two million Scottish premises can now connect to the nation’s new, high-speed network. We share and support our public sector partners’ ambition to go further, and we’re determined to take fibre technology as far as we can. No company is doing more to meet the huge demand across Scotland for great connectivity.”
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