High-speed broadband rolled out to thousands

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Thousands more homes and businesses in Midlothian communities now have access to high-speed broadband from the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out.

In the last three months 35,000 premises have been reached by the roll-out, many of which are in rural locations across Scotland. Local places to benefit include Temple, Straiton and Pathhead, as well as additional coverage in Loanhead, Penicuik and Gorebridge.

In total, more than 600,000 premises across the country now have access to their fastest-ever broadband speeds through the Digital Scotland roll-out, with 2,800 new fibre street cabinets now live across 620 Scottish exchange areas.

More than 7,500km of cable has been laid – enough to stretch all the way from Dalkeith to Kathmandu in Nepal.

The Digital Scotland programme is delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland.

Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.

Coupled with commercial upgrades, more than two million premises across Scotland can now access the higher speeds. Residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider, as upgrades aren’t automatic. More coverage will follow as engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, continue work on the ground.

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. It enables multiple users to go online at the same time and speeds up internet services, uploads and downloads.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020. It will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95 per cent of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans.

BT is investing £126 million in the two projects, on top of its commercial rollout.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland Director, said: “The task of bringing high-speed fibre broadband to rural Scotland is a huge technical and logistical challenge for our engineers – on a par with building a new Forth Bridge or Borders Rail Link. With a responsibility to deliver value for money, the programme has focused on reaching the most premises possible with the funds currently available.

“We’ve already seen many engineering innovations in this mammoth project, and there is more to come. We’d encourage people to check regularly for updates as the new network is passing more households and business premises every day.”

Midlothian Councillor Jim Bryant said: “It is really positive to see that the Digital Scotland programme is now really starting to move into areas such as Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith, Mayfield, Newtongrange, Straiton, Pathhead, and Gorebridge.

“The difference that fibre broadband is making to these more remote areas is remarkable; whether you work from home, run a small business or are a busy family all wanting online at the same time.”

Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (http://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/) to find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook atwww.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast