British Telecom’s deployment wing Openreach has connected 1,100 residential and business subscribers in Portsoy to the high speed fiber optic broadband network. Portsoy premises are among more than 275,000 premises across Scotland, which can access high speed fiber optic broadband services. Broadband speeds of up to 80 Mbps are available. The deployment of fiber optic cables is done as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband plan by investing 410 million British pounds.
Fiber optic broadband enable several users in a single home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time more quickly compared to other broadband technologies Fiber optic broadband is seamless as it is not influenced by external climatic changes. BT build and provide resources required to deliver high speed broadband, but in order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider. The rollout is being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach. Engineers have installed more than 900 new cabinets across Scotland to house the optical fiber connections. Scotland Government aims to deliver high speed connectivity to the residents and businesses by 2020.
The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland. Funding partners include the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund as well as BT. The Rest of Scotland project is being supported through £157.6million public funding including £50 million from BDUK and BT’s private investment of £106.7million. The public funding includes funding from all 27 local authorities in the project area and additional funding from 14 local authorities who are investing around £51 million to increase coverage, meet local priorities and address the digital divide in their areas. Coupled with the investment in the Highlands and Islands region announced earlier in the year, it brings the total investment in fibre broadband in Scotland to more than £410 million.
The Rest of Scotland project area includes the following local authority areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, parts of Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire (apart from the Islands), North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian. The Highlands and Islands broadband project is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and includes the following local authority areas: Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), parts of Argyll and Bute and part of North Ayrshire (Islands).
BT will organize a special drop-in event at the car park on Seafield Street between 3pm and 7pm on Wednesday June 10. Anyone in the local community who is interested in finding out how fiber optic broadband works and the benefits it can provide may visit the drop-in event at the car park. Members of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband program will be on hand to get people up to speed with the technology and provide advice on areas such as signing up with a service provider. Those attending will also be able to climb aboard the new Digital Scotland Fiber Showcase, a specially-adapted vehicle which features all of the equipment used in the roll-out of fiber broadband.
The unique vehicle includes equipment which is familiar to members of the public – like the new green street cabinets – as well as some of the things they don’t often see – like how fiber optic cables are ‘blown’ underground, as part of the deployment. The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband program aims to provide fiber broadband infrastructure to parts of Scotland not included in commercial providers’ investment plans. Combined with current commercial roll-out plans, 85 per cent of premises in Scotland will have access to fiber broadband by the end of 2015/16 and around 95 per cent by the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.
Aberdeenshire Council has contributed £16 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities. BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland program, in addition to its commercial rollout of fiber broadband in Scotland.