Superfast broadband steams ahead with Caledonian Railway in Angus

It was ‘all aboard’ when the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) team joined Caledonian Railways volunteers and Santa to raise awareness and encourage take-up of fibre broadband services across Angus.

For many homes and businesses across Angus, it’s going to be a ‘broadbandtastic’ Christmas thanks to the DSSB fibre broadband roll-out, with more homes than ever now able to connect.

The £463 million digital infrastructure programme now covers more than 17,000 Angus homes and businesses, including Caledonian Railway in Brechin.

Openreach engineers building the network on the ground have reached places like Aberlemno, Fern, Letham and Muirhead, and in the new year ultrafast full fibre will become available to some parts of Friockheim, Kellas and Glamis, as part of the DSSB rollout.

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable connections at a range of speeds1 using Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP or full fibre) technology.

Local people and organisations can check to see if the new fibre services are available to them at www.scotlandsuperfast.com/yourstreet

The Caledonian Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway which operates steam and diesel hauled trains along a historic four-mile branch line between the town of Brechin and the countryside stop of Bridge of Dun. Both locations have also been stops for the Digital Scotland rollout, with hundreds of local homes and businesses able to benefit.

Their broadband upgrade has had a positive impact on the day-to-day running of the non-profit organisation and helped drive up international visitor numbers.

Andy Pegg, Caledonian Railway’s Events and Marketing Director, said: “A robust broadband connection enables us to promote what we do to a home audience and worldwide. As a result, more international visitors are visiting the Caledonian Railway.

“Steam engines were a huge driving force behind Scotland’s economy during the Industrial Revolution and right up to the 1960s. Without the railway, it would have been hard to reach some rural places in Scotland, and it’s great that we are able to keep up the tradition by preserving a bit of history.

“Caledonian Railway is run by volunteers, so all the money we earn from ticket sales is reinvested back into our restoration and conservation programme. Since we rely on income generation it’s vital that we have a fully functional website – where visitors can book and find out about our events.”

Andy added: “This Christmas, we’ve been promoting our annual Santa Special rides online. They are extremely popular and a big hit with families and kids. The uplift in broadband speed, thanks to the DSSB upgrade, has kept our website stable during this busy period and visitors can watch our films and view images with ease.”

Sara Budge, DSSB Programme Director, said: “It’s great to see local organisations like Caledonian Railway benefiting from better broadband speeds. Thanks to the programme more businesses and homes are able to access fibre technology, resulting in a better online experience.

“Just remember upgrades are not automatic, so do shop around for the best deal which suits your needs at www.scotlandsuperfast.com/yourstreet. Why not treat yourself this Christmas!”

Robert Thorburn, Partnership Director for Openreach in Scotland, added: "From train tracks to digital lines, Scotland’s infrastructure keeps us connected.

“Broadband plays a vital role in all our lives, whether you’re ordering Christmas presents, connecting up new gadgets, or selling festive services and activities.

“It was brilliant to jump on board the Caledonian Railway Broadband Express today and hear how their award-winning volunteers are making use of their improved connection.

“Just like Santa we’re all set to keep delivering for Angus. We’ll continue to build more gigabit-capable, full fibre networks in harder-to-reach places in the New Year.”

The DSSB programme is 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 Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund, with Openreach leading the build on the ground.

Research has suggested that every £1 in public investment in fibre broadband in Scotland is delivering almost £12 of benefits to the Scottish economy. The independent report commissioned by DSSB and undertaken by consultants Analysys Mason estimates the total benefit from investment as £2.76 billion over 15 years.


About Openreach

Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.  

We’re more than 35,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. 

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected. 

We work on behalf of more than 665 communications providers like BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m premises. 

Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £15 billion into our network and, at more than 190 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,798 times. 

Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re making progress towards our full fibre optic network target to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. Research shows a nationwide Full Fibre network could potentially provide a £59bn boost to UK productivity.

To help build the new fibre network and deliver better service across the country – we’ve created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles in the last two years and we’re recruiting another 1,000 trainee roles in Openreach in 2021. We’re also building greener – we operate the UK’s second largest commercial fleet and want to help lead the transition to electric vehicles, with a target to transition our fleet to being electric in 2030. 

Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed unit of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions. 

For the year ended 31 March 2021, we reported revenue of £5,244m.

For more information, visit www.openreach.co.uk