KIRRIEMUIR is to benefit from high-speed fibre broadband with BT set to include the town in a £2.5 billion project.
The town is among the 35 latest Scottish locations announced for the fibre broadband programme for 2013.
Through the programmes, more than one million Scottish homes and businesses will have access to this super-fast network.
The news has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and Angus Council, who said it would bring a boost for businesses, internet users and the local economy, with potential to create new enterprises and local jobs.
It will also take the total number of homes and businesses in Angus able to connect to the fibre network to more than 29,000 once the commercial roll-out announced to date is complete.
More than 5,600 already have access in Montrose, with Arbroath, Brechin and Forfar also in the programme, and BT is keen to bring more communities within reach by working with the public sector.
Councillor Mairi Evans, Angus Council spokesperson on economic development, said: “The announcement by BT is helping to deliver world class broadband infrastructure across Angus. Everyone recognises the importance of super-fast broadband, not just for its contribution to the local economy and potential to create new businesses and jobs, but for every aspect of modern life.
“In the current economic climate, such an investment is to be greatly welcomed. But longer-term it’s also essential that people and organisations take up this exciting technology and make the most of the new network.”
The upload speeds are the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds. And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel.
Local businesses have also welcomed the news. Gordon Ewan from The Jeweller’s Workshop said: “Faster broadband should be great. I do most of my ordering online now and it can be so slow and sometimes it doesn’t even work at all.”
Lorraine Cheetham, who lives in Maryton, added: “I think this is a good thing, it could definitely be faster than it is now.”
However, Lisa Ysart and Anthony Mellor, who live a few miles outside of Kirriemuir, hope that the faster broadband scheme will soon reach more rural communities. Lisa said: “It’s just ridiculous and it does really affect us. It switches off and on all the time and sometimes pages won’t even load. It is hard for businesses. You just can’t compete these days without the internet.”
Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said: “I very much welcome this latest announcement from BT. It is essential that households and businesses everywhere in Scotland have access to high-speed connectivity and fibre broadband will play a key role in enhancing our digital offering.
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that a world class digital infrastructure is in place across Scotland by 2020 and that a significant increase in coverage has been achieved by 2015.
“This investment, along with significant investment by the public sector, will ensure that this ambition is achieved.”