BARRHEAD is to benefit from extended broadband coverage as part of a £428 million roll-out.

Residents and businesses in the town are joined by sections of Giffnock and Newton Mearns in being included in the Scotland Superfast Broadband upgrade.

Previously, these areas were served by ‘exchange only’ lines – a historic legacy of the copper network once thought to be out of the reach of high-speed fibre services.

More than 800,000 premises across Scotland can now receive fibre broadband through the programme.

Tony Buchanan, leader of East Renfrewshire Council, said: “Improving the broadband infrastructure across East Renfrewshire is great news for both residents and businesses.

“Faster browsing and downloading and better access to online services are of benefit to all who live in and work in the area.

“With more coverage going live in Barrhead, Giffnock and Newton Mearns, it means a further boost to our communities and has a positive impact on the wider local economy too.”

Each week the programme, one of the largest broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas, passing another 34,000 households and businesses in the last six months.

Across the country, around 4,100 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 8,700km of cable has been laid by engineers from Openreach, Scotland’s digital network business.

Fergus Ewing, Rural Economy Secretary, added: “Fast internet connection is vital to the economic and social well-being of our rural communities, supporting businesses and improving the lives of local people.”

“Last year we made faster progress than any other part of the UK and we are on-track to meet our Programme for Government commitment of 95 per cent coverage by the end of this year.

“However, these upgrades are not automatic. I would encourage more people to check whether they are eligible on the DSSB website and contact a service provider of their choice to start receiving faster broadband.

“I am not complacent – I am aware that those who do not have access are at a disadvantage and our job is not done until everyone is connected. We are now focussing on the next steps to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2021.”

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