More than 750,000 Scottish homes and businesses can now connect to fibre broadband as a result of the £428m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. It means that more than 90% of Scotland now has access to fibre broadband “thanks to the programme and commercial deployment, which is part of our commitment to deliver 100% superfast broadband access across Scotland by 2021,” said the Scottish Government in a statement.
The milestone was passed as Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing visited BRAG Enterprises in Lochgelly – a social enterprise benefitting from the arrival of fibre broadband in the town. Welcoming the milestone he said: “I am delighted that more people are now able to benefit from fibre broadband, with over 750,000 premises across Scotland now able to connect. Businesses like this one here in Lochgelly – one of the 77,000 connected in the last six months – can now connect to their fastest-ever broadband speeds for the first time showing our investment in digital infrastructure is paying off.
“The programme, is reaching more communities than originally planned and will continue to do so in the coming months. However, local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic. I am of course aware that many homes and businesses do not yet have access. Under the further R100 contract, we will be proceeding with the next phase of our pledge to enable access to broadband for every home and business to Scotland within the lifetime of this Scottish Parliament.”
Paul Melvin, facilities manager at BRAG said: “The difference that fibre has made here is amazing, small businesses like Re-Employ based in the facility who struggled to upload are really benefitting. Now they can download material and their production has increased.”
Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland’s fibre broadband director, added: “The Digital Scotland fibre rollout has continued to make good progress over the last six months, reaching places like Port Askaig and Crinan in Argyll and Bute, Benbecula in the Western Isles and Glencaple in Dumfries and Galloway. 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.”