Superfast broadband rollout eases Midlothian lockdown burden

More than 9,200 households and businesses in Midlothian were reached by the £463 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband scheme.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 6:00 am
Stock photo of works being carried out.

They were among over 950,600 homes and business across Scotland covered by the programme since it began in 2014, including more than 150,000 extra premises than planned.

Engineers from Openreach laid 130Km of cable across Midlothian during the build, connecting communities including villages and towns like Straiton, Dalkeith and Penicuik.

Business Minister, MSP Ivan McKee said: “The DSSB programme has been truly outstanding. It exceeded expectations, in the end delivering fibre broadband to more than 950,600 homes and businesses across Scotland.

“The way we work and live our lives has changed dramatically in the past year, and by providing decent, reliable broadband the DSSB programme has helped many people to work, learn and stay in touch with family and friends from their own homes.

" Across the country more than 97 per cent of homes and businesses now have access to fibre-based broadband and the transformative benefits for work and social life it offers.

“As we look towards our recovery from the impacts of the global pandemic, good connectivity will continue to be essential in helping us to renew, restart and rebuild.”

When the programme first began in April 2014, only 78.5 per cent of households and businesses in Midlothian were scheduled to get fibre broadband from a commercial provider.

The programme has ensured 97.8 per cent of homes and businesses in Midlothian have access to fibre-enabled broadband, superfast access (greater than or equal to 24Mbps).

Midlothian Council Director Place Kevin Anderson said: “Covid has impacted on all of us and the past year has been incredibly difficult for all communities. I’m in no doubt that without the DSSB improvements to our rural broadband infrastructure life would have been so much harder for most of our residents.

“The difference it has made here is significant and quite phenomenal – it’s been central to meeting this exceptional national challenge.”

Robert Thorburn, Partnership Director for Openreach in Scotland, said: “Everyone at Openreach is thrilled to see the transformative effect of better broadband across Midlothian.

“This has been a great partnership, going much further than planned and reaching many thousands of homes which might otherwise have struggled through the pandemic. Good connectivity has never been more important, and the huge expansion of the fibre network leaves a strong legacy to build on, including the deployment of 4G services in remote areas.

“We’re cracking on with the next stage of the journey, and I’d like to say a massive thank-you to all the engineers who’ve overcome so many challenges – from wildlife and weather to terrain and red tape – to bring us this far.”

Sara Budge, DSSB Programme Director, said: "It has been a great pleasure for me to work on the DSSB programme. From the very first cabinet launch, to seeing over 950,600 homes and businesses able to receive fibre broadband, it is transforming lives and delivering significant economic and social benefits.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see this in rural areas and rural market towns and villages such as Newton Grange and Mayfield, that without our programme would not have been able to reap the benefits of fibre broadband – particularly needed in the times we find ourselves.

“There's lots of competition out there and now that everyone is having to spend more time at home and indoors they may find they could be surfing, learning and working at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service. Upgrades aren’t automatic, so customers should contact one or more service providers to explore the options available to them.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​