Town gears up for high speed broadband

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ELLON’S councillors have welcomed news that the town is set to be benefit from high-speed broadband investment.

BT announced last week that Ellon and Turriff would be included in the latest roll-out of high-speed, fibre-optic broadband, with work expected to be completed by the end of spring, 2014. As part of the process, residents in the town have been issued postcards to return, so that BT can ascertain potential future uptake of the service.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “This latest investment is a major vote of confidence in Scotland’s future success. It will be a key part of our economic revival as we finally shrug off the effects of the downturn and create a better, more prosperous future.

“Fast, sophisticated communications are the cornerstone of a successful community, helping local people to build their skills and knowledge and encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs. This exciting technology will transform on-line education, training and leisure for households and enhance the competitiveness of local firms.

“BT has now announced plans to make fibre broadband available to around 1.45 million Scottish homes and businesses. Reaching that target will be a substantial achievement, but we want to go much further by working with partners to bring this exciting technology to more challenging areas.”

The four Councillors representing Ellon & District have joined forces to urge residents to take part in a Council broadband survey before the closing deadline. Aberdeenshire Council has already agreed to contribute up to £18million to improve broadband services in the area. However, to take advantage of Scottish Government support to further expand broadband provision, Aberdeenshire Council must provide evidence of demand from residents and businesses if it is to demonstrate the need for the infrastructure improvements required.

Conservative Councillor Gillian Owen, together with SNP Councillors Richard Thomson and Rob Merson and Lib Dem Councillor Isobel Davidson, made their call after tens of thousands of the postcards were delivered across the shire.

In a joint statement, the Councillors said: “Last week’s announcement by BT that Ellon will soon benefit from fibre-based broadband is one which each of us welcomes wholeheartedly.

“Having superfast broadband will be of tremendous benefit to homes and businesses alike. However, even with this investment, there’s a need to ensure that as many communities as possible are able to benefit from the fastest possible broadband speeds.

“By taking part in this postcard survey, local residents can help to demonstrate the level of demand which exists for better broadband. Please make sure that you complete and return a card in time, so that the case for upgrading local broadband can be made as strongly as possible.”

Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.

If residents and businesses have not received a postcard survey, or if it has been lost, they can collect a new postcard from their local Council Area Office or public library. Alternatively, a postcard can be requested by emailing their name and delivery address to Completed postcards should be returned by Thursday, February 28.