Bringing superfast broadband to Scotland is one of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes in the whole of Europe.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme is one element of the overall Digital Scotland Programme.


Our goal

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is a key step in the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020.

The programme is being delivered through two projects – the first covering the Highlands and Islands and the second covering the rest of Scotland.


Our team

We have two teams:

  1. The Rest of Scotland programme team is based in Glasgow
  2. The Highlands and Islands programme team is based in Inverness

Both teams are made up of people from the Scottish Government, specialist consultants and BT personnel. We bring together a mixture of skills and experience from the very technical and engineering to project management, strategy, PR, community engagement and enquiry handling. The core team (not counting all the engineers and planners) is 16 people for the Rest of Scotland and 6 people for the Highlands and Islands. Everyone is enthusiastic about their work and the long-term benefits it is delivering for Scotland.


Rest of Scotland

The contract for the Rest of Scotland project was signed between the Scottish Government and BT PLC in July 2013. It will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans. It is the highest value telecommunications infrastructure investment in Europe, and will bring fibre broadband to over 600,000 premises within 130,000 postcodes.


Highlands and Islands project

The rugged terrain and dispersed population of the area presents unique communications challenges. The project involves installing 800km of new fibre infrastructure and 400km of subsea cabling, in addition to using the existing fibre network.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise entered into a contract with BT PLC in March 2013 to deliver access to fibre broadband to around 84% of homes and businesses in Highlands and Islands by the end of 2016, including commercial roll-out. The rugged terrain and dispersed population of the area presents unique communications challenges. The project involves installing 800km of new fibre infrastructure and 400km of subsea cabling, in addition to using the existing fibre network. For information on where and when you can get fibre broadband in Highlands and Islands go to: http://www.hie.co.uk/digital

The Final 5%

Budget constraints and technical challenges mean around 5% of Scotland will not be part of this programme’s roll-out of fibre broadband. 

There are, however, a number of initiatives that will deliver improved broadband connectivity, including superfast broadband, to the final 5%. The Scottish Government oversees the Community Broadband Scotland Initiative (CBS) which works with remote communities to deliver local broadband projects in the final 5% of areas that will not be served by the Superfast Broadband programme. Scotland is one of the pilot areas for a £10 million competitive fund running across the UK. These initiatives will explore innovative technical and investment solutions to deliver broadband services in some of the hardest to reach areas. 

Scotland has been allocated a further £21 million from the UK Government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative to extend superfast broadband beyond the current predicted coverage levels.

Scotland has been allocated a further £21 million from the UK Government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative to extend superfast broadband beyond the current predicted coverage levels. This money will be matched by the Scottish Government, freeing up a further £42 million to increase the number of premises with access to Superfast Broadband.  Work is on-going to determine the best way to invest this money to deliver improved connectivity and maximum benefits for Scotland. You can find more information about the Community Broadband Initiative here.

 


The cost and public sector investment

The Rest of Scotland project is valued at £264 million with:

  • £157 million from public sources (Scottish Government, European Regional Development Fund, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and all 27 local authorities that form part of the Rest of Scotland Project area. The European funding will be used to specifically benefit Small to Medium size Enterprises).
  • £106.7 million from BT.
Scotland’s 32 local authorities are jointly contributing £40 million to the programme as a whole. However, 14 of those authorities have chosen to further supplement their funding in the Rest of Scotland project, totalling £50.65 million.

Scotland’s 32 local authorities are jointly contributing £40 million to the programme as a whole. However, 14 of those authorities have chosen to further supplement their funding in the Rest of Scotland project, totalling £50.65 million.  The local authorities that have made additional contributions are: Aberdeenshire, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, Fife, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

The Highlands and Islands (HIE) project is valued at £145.8 million with:

  • £126.4 million being contributed by public bodies (Scottish Government, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Highland and Islands Enterprise and all seven local authorities that form part of the project area)
  • £19.4 million being contributed by BT.


Community engagement –
be a Community Champion!

The Digital Scotland programme has a marketing team called the ‘Demand Stimulation’ team. They do mass marketing activities in ‘gone live’ areas such as mailing postcards, email, press and social media campaigns. The Community Officers in the team visit enabled communities and speak with local opinion formers and community leaders to spread word-of-mouth. They also hold events to help inform locals of access and the benefits of fibre broadband to the local community. Because the reality is that you may not realise you already have access to fibre broadband unless someone informs you. And most people want to order as soon as they have access, which is where the Demand Stimulation team helps.

You can volunteer to help the team as a local Community Champion. Our Community Champions help us spread the good news by handing out leaflets, putting up posters and talking to their community about the benefits of going faster.