MSP receives update on Angus broadband roll-out

Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Gougeon joined Openreach engineers in Aberlemno recently to check on the digital network’s roll-out of ultrafast broadband.
Mairi Gougeon is pictured with Openreach partnership director Robert Thorburn (left) and engineer Grant Halliburton.Mairi Gougeon is pictured with Openreach partnership director Robert Thorburn (left) and engineer Grant Halliburton.
Mairi Gougeon is pictured with Openreach partnership director Robert Thorburn (left) and engineer Grant Halliburton.

Ms Gougeon, who is also Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, visited the village to see new full fibre technology and be updated on local upgrades.

Dozens of households in the parish are among 3700 Angus properties - including 170 businesses - which can now connect to Openreach’s gigabit-capable broadband. Nearly half have already upgraded, with work continuing.

A major build has also started in Forfar, with hundreds more homes in line for upgrades this year.

In total, eight towns and villages across Angus including Brechin, Kirriemuir and Montrose will be upgraded under Openreach’s £15 billion plan to reach 25 million premises by 2026.

The company is also supporting the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% programme, with many in the county set to benefit. Additionally, those previously set to receive superfast speeds from the programme will now be upgraded to ultrafast full fibre instead.

Ms Gougeon said: “I‘m pleased to see the progress being made by Openreach to deliver full fibre in my constituency. It’s vital that local people can reap the full benefits of these amazing technologies.

“This significant local investment is great news for people living and working in Angus. I recognise that Openreach is playing a significant part in getting gigabit capable broadband to harder-to-reach homes across Scotland, including through its delivery of the Scottish Government’s R100 contracts.

“At a time when the economy is on everyone’s minds, private and public sector investment in infrastructure which can help stimulate the local economy and provide new opportunities is absolutely vital.”

Full fibre broadband offers download speeds of one gigabit per second, which means it is 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 when demand peaks 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.

Robert Thorburn, partnership director for Openreach in Scotland, said: “We welcomed the opportunity to show our latest progress and share the challenges and realities of delivering life-changing digital infrastructure. We’re committed to a balanced build which benefits both urban and rural areas. Research shows full fibre broadband can supercharge productivity, help people into the workforce and create new employment.”

He added: “Local people may spot an increase in Openreach activity as we continue upgrades. 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 for people across Angus.”