16
January
2014
|
00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Superfast Broadband for thousands of rural homes and businesses

More than 39,000 homes and businesses in 13 local authority areas across Scotland will be next to get fibre broadband as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland partnership, it was announced today. 

People in 37 places across the country – from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway and from Perth and Kinross to Argyll – will be able to access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* by Summer 2014 as BT engineers deploy the technology in these areas. [A full list of locations can be found at the end of this news release.] 

Some of the places announced today – such as Bridge of Allan, Castle Douglas, Findhorn, Fochabers, Kintore, Melrose, Scone and Taynuilt – will receive high speed technology for the first time, while others will see additional premises connected as a result of building upon their existing [or planned] fibre broadband. 

Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, said: “Today marks an important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe. 

“It’s fantastic news that many rural communities and businesses, from the Highlands to the Borders, will soon begin to see the benefits of high quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term. 

“However, this is not the limit of Scotland’s ambition. The Scottish Government’s aim is to deliver world class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device.” 

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the Rest of Scotland. The first locations in the Highlands and Islands, in Inverness-shire and Moray, were announced in October 2013. Today’s announcement includes the first locations to be named for upgrade as part of the Rest of Scotland project and further locations in the Highlands and Islands. 

In total, more than three quarters of a million homes and business premises are expected to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative. Funding partners include the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT, the selected private sector partner who is rolling out the open access fibre network, is investing £126 million. 
Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA’s spokesman on the issue, said: “This announcement is a welcome milestone on the journey to delivery of significant improvement in the speed of broadband service to many more Scottish households and businesses and the start of the narrowing of the digital divide between rural and urban areas across Scotland. 
“Local communities across Scotland, especially in rural areas, have been loud and clear that better speed broadband services were a top priority for them and for that reason all 32 Scottish Councils agreed last year to pool over £90m to deliver this project alongside European Union funding of more than £20 million. 
“The partnership approach to this project has provided the best value contract for the public purse, delivered national outcomes whilst being responsive to local needs, allowing all councils involved to roll out a step change in broadband services for their local communities.” 
More locations will be announced quarterly for the life of the projects as the fibre network rolls out across Scotland. Further local detail will be provided as plans advance and anyone interested in the roll-out can keep up to date and get more detail at www.digitalscotland.org 

The partnership programme is in addition to BT’s £2.5b UK commercial rollout, which will bring faster fibre broadband within reach of more than 1.4 million Scottish homes and businesses by the end of spring 2014, with nearly 900,000 premises already passed. 

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Today is a major step forward in a journey that will transform the communications landscape of rural Scotland and help develop prosperous local economies. 

“Our engineers have been working hard behind the scenes with colleagues in local and national Government to get us to this point. Planning a project on this scale, to get the very best value for money and maximum coverage, is a phenomenal task.” 

The new fibre based network will be open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis. Households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers. 

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The £100.8 million that the UK Government has provided to Digital Scotland will help take superfast broadband to some of the most remote locations in the country, who would otherwise be left in the digital slow lane. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to the Scottish economy.” 

ENDS 

The full list of locations being announced today is as follows: 

 

New exchange area  Local Authority  Additional coverage in areas 
which are included in commercial
fibre upgrades 
 Local Authority
 Aberdeen Bieldside  Aberdeen City  Aberdeen Lochnagar  Aberdeen City
 Aberdeen Kingswells *  Aberdeen City  Aberdeen West  Aberdeen City
 Aberdeen Kingswells*  Aberdeenshire  Inverurie  Aberdeenshire
 Kintore  Aberdeenshire  Dumfries  Dumfries and Galloway
 Monifieth  Angus  Dundee Steeple  Dundee City
 Amisfield  Dumfries and Galloway  Cumnock  East Ayrshire
 Castle Douglas  Dumfries and Galloway  Cupar  Fife
 Dundee Invergowrie*  Dundee City  Perth  Perth and Kinross
 Ceres  Fife  Galashiels  Scottish Borders
 Leuchars  Fife  Ayr  South Ayrshire
 Tayport  Fife  Bannockburn  Stirling
 Almondbank  Perth and Kinross  Dunblane  Stirling
 Dundee Invergowrie*  Perth and Kinross  Stirling  Stirling
 Methven  Perth and Kinross  Forres  Moray
 Scone  Perth and Kinross  Oban  Argyll and Bute
 Melrose  Scottish Borders
 Selkirk  Scottish Borders
 Bridge Of Allan  Stirling
 Gargunnock  Stirling
 Cullen  Moray
 Findhorn  Moray
 Fochabers  Moray
 Ledaig  Argyll and Bute
 Taynuilt  Argyll and Bute

 *These exchanges feature twice because they serve premises in more than one local authority area. 

Note to editors: 
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure. 

Forward looking plans are subject to change. The expectations reflected in this forward-looking plan are reasonable, but as rollout involves risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ from those expressed or implied. 

The Rest of Scotland project is being supported through £157.6million public funding including £50 million from BDUK and BT’s private investment of £106.7million. The public funding includes funding from all 27 local authorities in the project area and additional funding from 14 local authorities who are investing around £51 million to increase coverage, meet local priorities and address the digital divide in their areas. Coupled with the investment in the Highlands and Islands region announced earlier in the year, it brings the total investment in fibre broadband in Scotland to more than £410 million. 

The Rest of Scotland project area includes the following local authority areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, parts of Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire (apart from the Islands), North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian. 

The Highlands and Islands broadband project is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and includes the following local authority areas: Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), parts of Argyll and Bute and part of North Ayrshire (Islands). 

For further info: Please contact the BT Scotland press office on 0800 085 0660, Suzanne Hart in the Scottish Government press office on 0131 244 2797 or HIE communications manager Lesley Gallagher on 01463 244244. 

About BDUK 

Superfast Britain is a UK Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements: 
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities 
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services 
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. 
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk