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June 8, 2022

Grampian Online – Broadband upgrades continue in Aberdeenshire communities

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid met Openreach engineers to check on the latest rollout of ultrafast, full fibre broadband in the region.

He was given a tour of the work in Banff, along with an update on the Aberdeenshire build.

It has now reached more than 23,000 properties, meaning full fibre is available to around one in five homes and businesses. Around one in three of those passed by the new gigabit network has already upgraded.

In Banff around a third of local businesses and households can now connect to the new network.

Take-up of the new services available is above average, topping 40 per cent in the Banff and Buchan constituency.

Locations like Peterhead, Ellon and Inverurie are also benefitting from full fibre technology, with work continuing to reach thousands more homes and businesses. Engineers expect to start work in Cruden Bay next.

The majority of premises in 30 Aberdeenshire towns and villages will be upgraded under Openreach’s plan to reach 25 million premises by 2026, alongside its city build in Aberdeen.

Openreach operates Scotland’s largest broadband network, used by customers of companies like BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

Around 85 per cent of households in Aberdeenshire can access a superfast service at 30Mbps or more through its network.

Mr Duguid said: “Rural connectivity remains a top concern for my constituents. While I am pleased to see Openreach investing in Aberdeenshire towns, I will continue to push hard for faster broadband rollout for those living in more rural locations.

“I welcomed the opportunity to discuss the challenges Openreach faces, particularly with regard to red tape that holds up the build.

“I will continue to work with Openreach and all levels of Government to ensure more of my constituents receive decent broadband – particularly in rural areas.”

Meanwhile, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie was given a tour of the work being carried out in Stonehaven and he was also updated on the Aberdeenshire build.

In the town, nearly half of local businesses and households can now connect to the new network.

Full fibre broadband offers download speeds of one gigabit per second (1Gbps), which means it’s up to 10 times faster than the average home broadband connection, bringing faster game downloads, better quality video calls and higher resolution movie streaming.

It is also less affected by peak time congestion which means people can use multiple devices simultaneously, even during peak times in the evening, without the connection slowing down.

That means more people can get online at the same time without experiencing stuttering, buffering or dropouts.

The visit was hosted by Fraser Rowberry, director of fibre operations in Scotland.

He said: “We welcomed the opportunity to show our latest progress and share the challenges and realities of delivering this life-changing digital infrastructure.

“We’re very excited about what full fibre can do for Aberdeenshire. Research shows rolling it out can supercharge productivity and create new employment opportunities.

“Local people in many Aberdeenshire communities may spot an increase in Openreach activity as we continue work on the ground.

“We try hard to keep any disruption to a minimum by reusing our existing network where possible, but it’s not always straightforward.

“Occasionally we need to put up new poles or carry out roadworks safely, but the resulting benefits our network brings will be huge, varied and long-term across the community.”

Openreach’s £15 billion fibre investment aims to reach 25 million premises by December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.

More than 7.2 million homes and business can now order a service over the new network, including 620,000 across Scotland so far.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) estimates that connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre would create a £4.5 billion boost to the economy.

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