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Scotland signs faster broadband project with BT
Tuesday 09 July 2013 11:33:52 by Andrew Ferguson

Some 600,000 properties across Scotland are set to benefit from a massive investment in fibre broadband. The contract between BT and the Scottish Government was signed at the BT exchange in Pitt Street, Glasgow today and means that there will be a £264 million investment in broadband improvements. This is in addition to the £146 million previously announced back in March 2013 for the Highlands and Islands.

"Today's announcement signals the start of one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the whole of Europe. It will connect communities across rural and urban areas, providing a platform for future economic development and regeneration. "Next generation broadband enables businesses to compete on the international stage. It has the potential to transform the way in which we educate our children, provide health and social care and deliver our public services. It provides Scotland with a platform upon which we can build and sustain a world class digital country."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The contribution made by BT is £106.7 million and £50 million from the Westminster run BDUK fund and has targets of 85% coverage of fibre based broadband (mainly FTTC/VDSL2) by the end of 2015 and increasing to 95% by the end of 2017. The total investment in better broadband across Scotland stands at £410m and builds on the commercial roll-out by BT that is already available to some 1.5 million premises in Scotland. While the expense looks high when you consider that Analysys Mason estimate £2 billion of economic benefits over a fifteen year period it looks more like a good medium to long term investment.

The areas covered by this latest announcement are 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 project covers Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), parts of Argyll and Bute and part of North Ayrshire (Islands) and by running separately has more scope for handling the more diverse requirements of those areas.


Posted by amforbes over 4 years ago
Well it's about time, I've suffered with unreliable broadband here for ten years without any kind of speed increase. This is a very welcome move and can't come soon enough for us rural users.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Does that coverage list mean that this is a "rest of Scotland" project vs the H&I project? Or is there more to come?
Posted by NorwichGadfly over 4 years ago
Why is so much public money being spent on connecting everyone in remote areas by fibre when wireless and satellite solutions are available far more cheaply?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
At wwwombat I think that is all parts of the of Scotland now, unless there is one I am missing.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@NorwichGadfly This is mostly FTTC, cabinet based solutions, so more fibre than now but not FTTP for all. We would be shouting if they had promised that.

On satellite some interesting chat about performance issues on our forums, where 20 Mbps is dropping to 1 Mbps during peak times.
Posted by john-fraser over 4 years ago
I'm with amforbes on this. Here in my area of morayshire it has never been great. The highest ever I think was i.2Mbts the usual being 0.7- and downwards. IPlayer is not possible. Thank goodness I'm not trying to run a business.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
There's a reason radio based solutions are cheaper. As with most things in life it's because it's not as good. Radio is a contended medium and propagation (especially in hilly areas is problematic).

An example of the latter is a cottage I've rented in Dumfries and Galloway. Their phone line gives a dodgy 500kB/s. Mobile signal is almost useless. But go half a mile up a hill and you're mobile will give you over 6Mb/s.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
Oops. My typing is looking dodgy as well. That should have been '..a dodgy 500kb/s..' to say nothing of a wandering closing parenthesis.

So anyway: It might cost a bit more but a fixed line based solution will offer a better service.
Posted by aceeja over 4 years ago
Political words are easy ... lets see some proper action. Are the Edinburgh Trams running yet?
Posted by lockyatlrg over 4 years ago
They want "British Telecom" to deploy their broadband, yet don't want to be apart of Britain. Cake and eat it much?
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Satellite has limited bandwidth pointed at the UK, which means that (at busy hours) there is congestion as the bandwidth gets shared amongst all users.

The consequence is packages with high prices, low usage allowances, and heavy cost for additional usage.

BDUK estimated that ~0.5% - 1% of the UK will go satellite, but the satellite itself couldn't cope with more than 2-3%.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
As AndrueC mentions, wireless is a shared medium, so more take-up means more congestion - so you want to use it for isolated properties, not for whole communities.

Interesting that one of the most rural of the UK counties (N Yorks) has a target that deliberately aims to get fibre as widespread into communities as possible. They are aiming at a platform to continue building on top of, rather than a dead-end.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
On more reading, this does indeed look to be a "rest of Scotland" project.

It is also interesting to see that it has jumped the old BDUK targets, and gone straight to the new "95% by 2017" one without any apparent increase in funding.
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago

So because a country is not part of the United Kingdom all companies from the United Kingdom must move out? You do realise that British Telecom is a private company present in several countries right? Badly run IMHO, but still private...

Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
and when I say private company I obviously mean not a government of the United Kingdom owned company...
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago

After 2014, north of the border, BT Wholesale will be AT slàn-reic. ;)
Posted by sarge205 over 4 years ago
according to Bt Gourock in Inverclyde will be getting upgraded in September.
It was supposed to be June
Then this "latest announcement" today, says Inverclyde will now be upgraded.

Will it ever happen ?
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