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MP welcomes full fibre broadband plans for Gordon towns

By Kirsty Brown

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MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson, has welcomed news that Openreach is to expand ‘superfast’ broadband into Ellon and Inverurie, by offering full-fibre to the premises connections.

While much of Aberdeenshire is now served by fibre optic cabling, this is mostly between telephone exchanges and local cabinets, with the final connection to homes and businesses still relying on copper phone lines.

Ellon and Inverurie are two of 60 rural Scottish towns that will be upgraded by Openreach on a commercial basis.

Work is expected to start on the development in the next 12-18 months, but, due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.

Ellon and Inverurie are amongst the towns set to benefit. Picture courtesy of Openreach
Ellon and Inverurie are amongst the towns set to benefit. Picture courtesy of Openreach

Commenting, Mr Thomson said: “For the businesses and residents of Ellon and Inverurie, this will be a welcome prospect which puts the towns on a level with the fastest speeds currently available anywhere else in Scotland. After years of waiting for some of the more rural homes and premises, the full-fibre broadband should be a dramatic improvement for those it will reach.

“As the lockdown has shown, digital connectivity can be a lifeline. While this is obviously positive news, it does throw into perspective the continued digital divide between those who have fast, reliable connections and those who do not.

“I work regularly with Openreach to try and assist people with getting the best broadband speeds they can. I will be meeting with Openreach representatives over the summer to discuss how the various initiatives promoted by the Scottish and UK Government, as well as Community Fibre Partnerships, can help to give all parts of Aberdeenshire the speeds and reliability that we need to keep our area properly connected.”

The build is a major part of Openreach’s recent £12 billion investment to help deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for rural and urban communities.

Studies commissioned by Openreach have found that connecting everyone in Scotland to Full Fibre by 2025 would give a £5.5 billion boost to the nation’s economy and revealed that 37,400 people across Scotland could be brought back into work through enhanced connectivity.

This includes roles in small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as allowing thousands more to work remotely.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that Full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.

“We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy.

“Openreach is leading the charge to help the UK Government achieve its target of making gigabit capable networks available nationwide by 2025. And we hope that by publishing our own plans, we can help ensure that taxpayers only fund connections in communities that really need public support.”

The Aberdeenshire locations included in the development are: Ellon, Inverurie, Stonehaven, Cowie, Banff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead.

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