Historic opportunity to develop broadband

BT has called on Angus to grasp an “historic opportunity” for the future of the region.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said the communications company was willing to consider a further major investment in super-fast broadband in the region “if we can create the right environment”.

He emphasised that the full benefits of the high-speed technology would only be achieved by a partnership approach between the private and public sectors.

His appeal comes as the success of the first major faster broadband private and public sector partnership in the UK was announced.

Eighty five per cent of businesses in Northern Ireland now have access to fibre optic speeds several times quicker than those previously available following a £48 million initiative by Northern Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and lead partner BT.

Brendan Dick said: “The success of the Northern Ireland project demonstrates what can be achieved when organisations work together, combining their expertise and resources. Angus, too, has an historic opportunity to develop a scheme which will benefit local businesses and households for decades ahead.

”As in parts of Angus, Northern Ireland has rural areas where the engineering challenges and costs are considerable. But we worked together to roll-out faster broadband far more quickly and more widely than would have been possible without a partnership approach.

“Private and public sector partnerships are essential to make sure that consumers in predominantly rural parts of Angus can also reap the social and economic benefits of high-speed networks.

“Highlands and Islands is leading the nation with a ground-breaking tender, and the Scottish Government’s Next Generation Digital Fund and Digital Ambition Strategy paves the way to future partnerships. BT has significant experience of working with the public sector to create networks that are both open to other service providers and sustainable. We want to ensure no part of Scotland is left behind.”

Garry Clark, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “Broadband connectivity is now an essential part of our national infrastructure for business in Scotland and the quality and extent of our digital communications technology will increasingly be a defining factor in the success of our businesses and our ability to attract new investment in places such as Angus. Both the Scottish and Westminster Governments have key roles in ensuring the expansion of our national capabilities.”

Brendan Dick added: “BT has already announced plans to make super-fast broadband available to more than 215,000 homes and businesses in Scotland. But some of our more challenging, less populated locations – including parts of Angus – will require the public and private sectors working together. We are very willing to make a further major investment if we can work with the public sector to create the right environment.”