Not satisfied with bringing broadband to every Scottish community, the Scottish Executive has announced a plan to invest a further £5 million bringing broadband to as many of the remaining clusters as possible. The full press release is available on the Scottish Executive website.
The £5 million arises from £1.5 million of funding from the previous project, and an extra £3.5 million in the next financial year. Details of which clusters will benefit from the project are expected to be announced by the end of March 2007. A list of the clusters that are known to the Scottish Executive currently can be found in the report by Masons Consultants available here.
The Broadband Reach Report looks at the current solutions in place and goes through the technical aspects of ADSL, as well as the problems of TPON, DACs and Line Concentrators (Scotland does not have any of the latter apparently). An estimate of the number of households in Scotland with no access to broadband is around 7,000 to 24,000 out of a total of 2,483,000. One recurring point in the report is that predicting access to broadband and in particular ADSL is not an exact science, and repeating a phrase from the report, and often mentioned on our forums in one form or another "In the end, the only absolute way of knowing is to order a service and try to provision."
For those wondering about where the not-spots are, they are listed on page 24 of report, the BT exchange areas affected are: Alness, Balmaha, Balvicar, Bannockburn, Bridge of Earn, Calvine, Clova, Cortachy, Cromarty, Cumbernauld, Dingwall, Dundonnell, Fochabers, Foreside, Fort William, Glenborrodale, Gorthleck, Inchture, Inverness Culloden, Kilchoan, Kinlochbervie, Kinross, Kirkwall, Kirriemuir, Langholm, Lochailort, Muckhart, Pentland, Pitlochry. Poolewe, Port Charlotte, Portsoy, Rousay, Salen, Sanday, Shapinsay, Sligachan, Spean Bridge, St Margarets Hope, Strathconon, Strathkanaird, Strathpeffer, Stromness, Walls, Westray. We should highlight that the clusters are just a small number of households in each of these areas, the report provides more detail, e.g. the Sanday cluster is thought to be about 16 households.
Even if you are not in Scotland the report is a useful background read on UK broadband, one hopeful snippet is that as part of the 21CN roll-out most Line Concentrators will be a removed, allowing more people to get ADSL around the UK. Other changes that are ongoing, is the new DACs removal policy, and the continuing work in TPON areas to provider copper overlay, or in some cases site a remote DSLAM to provide an ADSL service.