More than three quarters of homes and businesses in Moray now have access to the superfast broadband network.
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project is investing £146m to extend access to fibre optic services to areas across the Highlands and Islands which could not be reached by the commercial market.
In Moray the DSSB project has now made fibre based services available to almost 24,000 premises across 18 towns and villages including: Aberlour, Buckie, Cullen, Dufftown, Keith, Lossiemouth and Longmorn. (Details of roll-out and an interactive map to check availability here )
Added to commercial services in Forres and Elgin this now equates to 75% of premises. The roll-out of services is not yet finished in many towns and villages and at least 9 out of 10 Moray premises will have access by the end of 2016.
The project is led by Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE) and funded by the Scottish and UK governments, HIE itself and private sector partners BT.
This week, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead met with HIE’s director of digital Stuart Robertson and BT’s programme manager for the region Robert Thorburn in Rothes to see the final stages of work to start connecting premises there.
Mr Robertson commented: “We’re delighted that so many new premises now have access to high speed fibre broadband in Moray. Customers should be aware that their existing broadband isn’t upgraded automatically, where fibre based services are available people have to order it through an Internet Service Provider.
“For businesses and social enterprises, the new fibre core available in the area means that there is more choice of services available to meet their connectivity needs. For those who need a more specific service there are also connection vouchers available, administered through Moray Council, to help with the initial installation costs for eligible organisations and firms.” (This fund has now closed )
Fibre broadband services have been rolling out in stages as BT Openreach engineers build the network. In most areas it’s delivered through new green fibre cabinets. The ability to get a service and the speed received are both dependent on whether a home or business is attached to the local network, and the distance from the fibre cabinet.
Mr Lochhead said: “It’s great that Rothes will soon have the additional opportunity to order high speed fibre broadband, and that the two cabinets in the village could go live within the next few weeks.
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring we have first-rate digital infrastructure by 2020, and whilst there is still work to be done, it is great news that 75% of premises in Moray now have access to the superfast broadband network benefitting thousands of homes and businesses.“
The new network can provide download speeds of up to 80 Mbps*. Fibre can provide improved capacity to allow more people be online at the same time in a household. Also, importantly many may see faster upload speeds, which can be vital for anyone trying to upload larger files.
Mr Thorburn commented: “Today marks another significant and exciting milestone for Moray. We continue to amass a growing body of evidence supported by independent research, highlighting the real benefits that superfast broadband brings to homes and businesses. The rollout in Moray and wider across the Highlands and Islands is now connecting communities big and small, transforming local economies and improving lives, which will make a lasting difference.
*When connected premises could have direct access to download speeds of up to 80 Mbps. These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. Speeds will also vary depending on the distance from the cabinet.
Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations, and Community Broadband Scotland can support communities look at alternative options in the areas least likely to be reached by the roll-out.