Faster broadband in Angus

Openreach engineers installing one of the new fibre street cabinets

Openreach engineers installing one of the new fibre street cabinets

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Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout has meant that more than 6,800 customers in Angus have access to their fastest-ever broadband speeds

New street cabinets to deliver high-speed services in Carnoustie, Monifieth, Hillside and Letham are among the latest to go live.

Residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider to benefit from the faster connection speeds, as upgrades aren’t automatic.

Around 135 premises in Farnell and Inverarity are next in line for a fibre boost, thanks to the £410m Digital Scotland partnership, led by the Scottish Government.

Engineers expect the first fibre connections to be available in the two villages by this summer as Openreach, BT’s local network business, continues work on the ground.

Almost all the work planned for the next tranche of upgrades will be on ‘Exchange Only’ (EO) lines, a historic legacy of the copper network which present unique engineering challenges. They run directly from the exchange to homes and business premises, bypassing the usual road-side cabinets which are a vital part of the fibre rollout.

Engineers have worked out an innovative way to integrate these lines into the fibre rollout, rearranging the existing network and laying hundreds of metres of new cables to reroute the lines through extra road-side cabinets, to overcome the hurdle.

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.

Monifieth and Sidlaw councillor Sheila Hands, vice convener of economic development said: “It is great news that more of our communities are in line for a superfast boost, especially as exchange-only lines were once thought to be out of reach of fibre technology.

“We are determined that everyone in Angus will have access to digital services, as well as the skills and confidence to go online and use them. Today’s update shows we’re making good progress.”

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% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans.

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland project – the partnership currently reaches more than 500,000 premises across the country.

Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT is investing £126 million in the two projects, on top of its commercial rollout.

Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “Many residents and businesses are now able to sign up for fibre broadband thanks to our programme, with more local coverage just around the corner.

“As with any engineering rollout on this scale there are risks and things do change from time to time, so we’ve been making improvements to our website to make sure people can get the very latest information with just a few clicks.

“You can find out all about the rollout and the status of the street cabinet you’re connected to, and sign up to be kept in the loop for progress reports, at www.scotlandsuperfast.com.”

Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, added: “We’re excited to be bringing fibre technology to more rural parts of Angus, especially as it involves overcoming a major technical challenge in the shape of our historic EO lines.

“We’re also urging local people to check if they’re among the thousands who can already get high speed services. There’s lots of competition in the broadband market, and people may be pleasantly surprised to discover they could be surfing at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service.”

Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website to find out if they can get the service.