Full fibre broadband goes live in East Ayrshire village

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme marked one of its final milestones as Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minster for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands visited Rankinston in East Ayrshire.

Around 270 local residents now have access to a new full fibre broadband network. It’s the largest of more than 1000 gigabit-capable networks delivered across Scotland as part of the programme. The ultra-reliable, resilient technology is built directly into properties.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity, and the Islands said: “It is particularly pleasing to see that rural villages like Rankinston and Drongan in East Ayrshire can now get reliable, fast broadband thanks to the DSSB programme.

“The difference having fibre broadband can make to businesses or to improving the range of services available in the home is amazing. I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the faster speeds now available. More than 65 per cent of properties reached by the programme have now switched to faster fibre broadband.”

Across East Ayrshire more than 25,000 homes and business can now upgrade to faster fibre broadband thanks to the £463 million DSSB rollout. Most are served from local street cabinets1, but during the last year Openreach engineers have mainly connected homes and business to full fibre (also known as Fibre-to-the-Premises or FTTP).

Across Scotland more than 950,000 premises have now been passed by the programme, with engineers laying enough cable to stretch all the way to the South Pole.

Andrew Hepburn, Fibre Infrastructure Build Director at Openreach, said: “It’s great to be here in Rankinston as we near the end of a massive, seven-year civil engineering journey that’s seen our engineers bring better broadband to hundreds of communities from Shetland to Gretna Green. Good connectivity has the power to revitalise our rural areas.

“There have been many highlights along the way and engineers have overcome numerous challenges to reach as many people as possible. Now we’re ready to get cracking on the next stage – as the Scottish Government’s R100 programme brings gigabit-capable full fibre to more of Ayrshire’s hardest-to-reach homes.”

East Ayrshire Local Councillors, John Bell, Elaine Dinwoodie and Drew Filson commented:  “For rural communities like Drongan and Rankinston, access to fibre broadband is increasingly vital.

“During the current pandemic, as so many services have gone online, being able to make stable, fast connections can make all the difference to combating isolation, accessing medical help, education, goods and services and of course keeping in touch with family and friends. One wee boy we met even pointed out that being able to join in online games with his friends  for the first time, now that he has access to faster broadband, has helped him feel less “left out” and more included at school. For so many people this is  clearly life changing.

“This next step in East Ayrshire’s joint programme to help fund the spread of fast fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland scheme, could not have come at a better time for local individuals and businesses as we all adapt to the “new normal” in an increasingly online age.”​​

Fibre technology offers fast and reliable connections at a range of speeds1 and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. Local people can check if the new fibre services are available to them at www.scotlandsuperfast.com/yourstreet.

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland – funding partners also include the UK Government through Building Digital UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund, with Openreach leading the build on the ground