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More superfast broadband coverage in East Ayrshire

More than 800 homes and businesses in East Ayrshire will be next to benefit from fibre broadband in the latest phase of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

Muirkirk is one of the next areas targeted by the Digital Scotland deployment of high-speed fibre broadband to receive the high speed technology for the first time.

As a result of the ongoing roll-out by BT engineers, 55,000 homes and business across Scotland now have access to fibre broadband. In total, more than three quarters of a million homes and business premises will eventually benefit.

Once the installation, due to take place this coming winter, resident and businesses in Muirkirk will be able to access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps. The vastly improved speed means that multiple users in a home or business will find it easier and quicker to access the internet and download and share large files at the same time.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This announcement marks an important milestone for the people and businesses of East Ayrshire as well as for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership.

“This programme is laying the foundations of a world class digital Scotland, by extending fibre broadband access to parts of Scotland that wouldn’t otherwise be served commercially.

“The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland outstrips any other part of the UK and will generate significant economic benefits, including new jobs and increased productivity.

“This is an important step towards ensuring that Scotland has world-class digital connectivity by 2020 and will be a key factor in ensuring Scotland’s long-term economic prosperity.”

The Digital Scotland Superfast is being delivered on the ground by BT, which is investing £126 million in the programme throughout Scotland.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “The advent of fibre broadband in these latest communities will mean a major boost for local homes and businesses. With more adults working from home than ever before and more people shopping or watching TV online, today’s announcement will help Scotland work and play faster.

“We’re really proud of our role at the heart of Scotland, delivering critical infrastructure which helps the nation to compete on a world stage. We could only reach the parts of East Ayrshire that lay beyond commercial deployment by working with others, and I find it really heartening that so many of our smaller communities now stand to benefit. Our ongoing deployment of fibre across the country is one of the biggest civil engineering projects happening in Scotland today and will be to the advantage of generations to come.”

Councillor Jim Buchanan, Spokesperson for Delivering Community Regeneration, East Ayrshire Council said: “ As we’re already seeing from the parts of East Ayrshire which have superfast broadband, it has the potential to change people’s lives with great opportunities for healthcare monitoring, general communications and business. At East Ayrshire Council we’re happy to support this project which is bringing the latest technology to rural areas which might not otherwise benefit.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This fantastic news marks the next stage of a remarkable transformation of broadband in East Ayrshire which will see around 95 per cent of premises connected to fibre broadband infrastructure by 2017/18. We understand how important access to superfast broadband is, which is why the UK Government is investing more than £100m in broadband for Scotland. The widespread access to superfast broadband that our rollout will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the Scottish economy.”

Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband 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.

Alongside the commercial roll-out of superfast broadband, the Digital Scotland programme will see around 95 per cent of premises in Scotland connected to fibre broadband infrastructure by 2017/18. In East Ayrshire coverage will reach 9 per cent.

Locations will be announced quarterly over the life of the projects as the fibre network rolls out across Scotland. Further local detail will be provided as plans advance and anyone interested in the roll-out can keep up to date and get more detail at www.digitalscotland.org

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