Skip Navigation

Scotland officially declares the 85% target met
Tuesday 15 March 2016 19:12:47 by Andrew Ferguson

The Digital Scotland project in announcing the formal declaration of hitting the 85% milestone has just scrapped into a during 2015 deadline as the financial year still has a couple of weeks to run. Oddly though our own analysis spotted the project gliding through the 85% fibre based coverage target three months ago, the delay may be partly down to the time to get a PR event arranged and signed off and also by delaying until now the coverage is such that the project is almost at 85% superfast coverage (83.6% at 24 Mbps or faster) rather than the lesser 'fibre based' target which also includes long VDSL2 lines only getting 2 to 3 Mbps from the upgrade.

In the BT press release the cabinet featured is cabinet 24 on the Edinburgh Dean exchange and it is has literally just gone live, picking an urban cabinet may seem an odd choice, but we have been seeing cabinets like this going live in the more populated areas of Scotland, but to highlight this in the announcement may cause a revolt in the Highlands who are well behind in terms of coverage compared to the heavily populated belt that comprise Glasgow, Edinburgh and linking conurbations. Our checking also revealed cabinet 24 is also pretty much encircled by Virgin Media coverage too.

Superfast Broadband Coverage in Scotland March 2016
Version of map with coverage labels
Superfast Scotland and variation across different parts of country

The image above is our preferred map showing the level of superfast coverage, but for the curious here is the same map but with the range limitations of VDSL2 turned off, i.e. what would be called 'fibre based'. For those who feel like nothing has changed in Scotland, which will of course be a fact for those yet to helped, a peek at the picture in March 2015 shows the scale of change between then and 12 months later (grey scale image for those who don't like the red/yellow/green scale).

There has always been some doubt about how the Scottish project is defining things, and it is possible that they may be excluding VDSL2 lines under a certain speed threshold from their 'fibre based' total and a bit of fiddling with our figures suggests this is very likely as eliminating lines under 15 Mbps seems to land us just below the 85% target or just above if we use a 10 Mbps threshold.

What does the future hold for Scotland, well the project is aiming for a 95% target by March 2018 (sometimes said to be the end of 2017), so this means coverage growing by 5% a year, which is slower than the rate achieved so far but that is to be expected as you reach the more rural areas. There is political talk of 100% superfast, but we will have to see what the talk actually translates into.

Scotland has suffered from exchange only lines in the past and we have seen many exchanges that had no cabinets gain a one or more cabinets to serve them with VDSL2, often with one outside the exchange and others strategically located to cover other premises. So for those still stuck on an old up to 8 Mbps ADSL service there may be some hope, and do check to see if WBC ADSL2+ has suddenly appeared at an exchange even if you cannot get VDSL2 since the way the BT Wholesale ADSL2+ DLM operates is preferable to the old IPStream system and generally has much better capacity at peak times.


Posted by crarcher about 1 year ago
There are still loads of easy pickings in the urban areas needing updated. I'm in a 2003 new build. there were 3 phases built by different builders. Each phase is on a different cabinet, 2 or them a decent distance away. The last phase got a new cabinet but has so few houses it's not got an upgrade. Would be nice if tht cab got VDSL and the other 2 phases get moved onto it.

Phase 1 houses cannot get infinity just "fast broadband" around 8mb, phase 2 can expect 16-20mb, phase 3 2mb ADSL.
Posted by jumpmum about 1 year ago
The difference between the embedded map and the range limited map clears shows the issues of long lines and therefore the difficulty in getting the higher % of SFBB coverage.
Posted by docbc about 1 year ago
I'm not sure what the point of this map is, it seems like an exercise in wishful thining. The constituency where I live is marked as 100% coverage, but the reality is nothing close - even ignoring VDSL range limits. People here who live a stone's throw from cabs are stuck on ADSL2+, with no ETA for anything better.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
At the top end the greens are harder to differentiate but none are at 100%

Use to check your individual area and if if we have a sequence of postcodes wrong i.e. your stones throw then tell us the exchange and will happily review even if this means lowering figures.
Posted by philbr about 1 year ago
Sorry, the map is simply incorrect. According to the map my village is a lovely 'bright green' - not so. We have been promised fast broadband for many years - Digital Scotand website still says in 6 months, which is what it has said for years!
Posted by chalky123 about 1 year ago
Bannockburn showing a nice bright green - sorry to say, it isn't all fibred up yet
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Bannockburn is not full green but matches the RGB correct for 72.7% coverage as part of the Stirling constituency.

There is one cabinet not enabled on Bannockburn exchange and some EO lines e.g.

and we also know about long lines where VDSL2 is at cabinet but too far from cab to benefit
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@philbr The map does not show individual villages, if it did it would be a much more detailed mosaic.

You can check your individual postcode at and if it is wrong then get in touch for us to correct the model in the area manually.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago has the greens with the superfast coverage level superimposed to avoid green level interpretation issues too.
Posted by alexdow about 1 year ago
Again, is this AVAILABILITY, rather than ACTUAL UPGRADES?
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.