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Scotland reaches 95% fibre coverage

Tuesday 17th April 2018


More than 95% of homes and businesses across Scotland can now access fibre broadband. It means that when combined with commercial coverage, the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme has exceeded its target of 95 per cent on schedule.

 

In 2013, the programme committed to 95 per cent of premises having access to fibre broadband by the end of 2017*. The latest data, now verified, shows that 95.5 per cent of Scotland can now access fibre broadband, and 92.7 per cent of Scottish homes and businesses can receive a superfast speed of over 24Mbps.

 

Each week the programme, one of the largest and most innovative broadband infrastructure projects in Europe, reaches more remote and rural areas. Communities from as far north as North Roe, Shetland to as far south as Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway, can all access fibre broadband.

 

Across the country around 4,400 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 9,700km of cable has been laid, including 400km or subsea cabling, by engineers from Openreach, Scotland’s digital network business.

 

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. To benefit from faster speeds homes and businesses need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

 

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.

Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Fast and reliable internet is fundamental for the future economic and social success of communities right across Scotland.

“This is a landmark for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which has connected around 890,000 premises to fibre broadband, and is ensuring Scotland can offer world-class digital infrastructure. Without the DSSB programme only 66% of Scotland would have been able to receive fibre broadband.

“While this is fantastic news, I am determined to go even further, 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 focusing on the next steps to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2021.”

 

Thanks to the programme, more than 890,000 premises now have access to fibre broadband. And with the additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected fibre take-up, the programme will deliver new DSSB deployment in every local authority area during 2018 and beyond, complementing ongoing commercial build across Scotland.

 

Robert Thorburn, fibre partnership director for Openreach in Scotland, added: “Everyone at Openreach is massively proud to be part of the Digital Scotland project. The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband the length and breadth of Scotland is huge. Our planners, engineers and contractors have worked flat out to make sure we reached 95 per cent of Scottish premises on time and on budget.

 

“Latest stats show that 92.7 per cent of households and businesses in Scotland can now get a superfast service of 24Mbps or faster. Further high-speed coverage is planned throughout 2018 as part of the extended build work within the current project. It’s been fantastic working hand in hand with our partners in the public sector to make this happen for Scotland.”

 

Case Study

 

One of the many businesses benefitting after signing up to fibre broadband is Iain Burnett, ‘The Highland Chocolatier’ from Pitlochry. Since getting connected to fibre, Iain has seen a transformation to his business, resulting in better quality of service for visitors to his shop and increase in hits to his website.

 

The shop is dependent on its website to showcase its award winning chocolates, particularly to retain customers that purchase chocolates online.

 

Iain said: “Before fibre broadband our internet connection was frequently slow and the speed rarely got above 6 Mbps. We can now get over 60 Mbps! It is incredible and we can now do so much more online. Upgrading to fibre broadband has enabled us to easily and effectively add and remove content to our website without hassle. We are able to engage with our visitors easily”.

 

*When the DSSB contract  for RoS was signed in 2013,  data from 2012. The programme has met its target to fibre enable 95% of postcodes from 2012.

 

*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.