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Piper heralds arrival of fibre to north Lanarkshire town

Thursday, March 24th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

More than 3,700 homes and businesses in a north Lanarkshire town can now access fibre broadband services as part of the Digital Scotland superfast rollout.

The premises in Shotts join more than 20,000 in North Lanarkshire which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme.

Other local areas now live as part of the programme include Plains, Chryston, Caldercruix and Harthill, while the existing fibre network has been extended in towns such as Wishaw, Motherwell, Coatbridge and Bellshill.

The £410m DSSB programme, in partnership with the Scottish Government and BT, aims to deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial rollout plans.

The arrival of fibre in Shotts was piped in by Dan Evans, a member of the renowned Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band – one of the most successful pipe bands in the history of piping – at a special event earlier this week.

Mr Evans was joined by North Lanarkshire Council local councillor and Provost James Robertson, as well as regeneration convener Cllr Allan Graham, Cllr Charles Cefferty and the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband team to unveil one of the new street cabinets for the town.

On the day, there was a special drop-in event at the Shotts Healthy Living Centre where members of the Digital Scotland team gave advice and explained the technology.

Members of the public also had the chance to see the Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase, a vehicle featuring all the equipment used in the fibre broadband rollout.

Regeneration convenor Cllr Allan Graham said: “It's good to see this project reaching more communities and giving an increasing number of homes and businesses the opportunity to connect to high-speed broadband.

'Surfing at much higher speeds'

“We’re determined to make sure everyone in North Lanarkshire has access to digital services – and the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”

A number of homes and businesses in the Shotts area are served by ‘Exchange Only’ lines which run directly from the exchange to the premises, meaning engineers will have to rearrange the existing network, laying new cables to reroute lines through extra roadside cabinets.

DSSB programme director Sara Budge said: “The difference that fibre broadband can make is amazing.

“Once people have signed up with a service provider, it will give much more flexibility whether it’s at work or in the home.

Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s fibre broadband director, added: “Thousands of residents in North Lanarkshire now have the opportunity to access their best ever broadband speeds when they sign up with a service provider.

“Many local people are already enjoying the benefits and we’d urge others to consider the benefits of a move to a fibre service.

“There’s lots of competition out there and people may find they could be surfing at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service.”

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