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Audit report published for the Scottish broadband project
Thursday 18 August 2016 10:31:17 by Andrew Ferguson

The superfast broadband roll-outs are very often maligned for not having delivered anything, hence why our own tracking and audits like the one by Audit Scotland is very important. As the Audit Scotland highlights challenges very much do remain and we would add that these are not just technology based, but also in getting people and businesses to upgrade to the new faster services sooner rather than later.


Click image for larger version
thinkbroadband has a map with postcode level detail rather than area shading.

The full report highlights the various targets and importantly highlights the contractual targets BT was working to for superfast coverage (which is lower than the 'fibre' headline figures i.e. takes into account VDSL2 distance issues), and for all the council areas in Scotland this was 75% apart from Eilean Siar (Western Isles) where the contract target was 70%. The report as of March 2016 reported six councils still below the target, and 25 exceeding, of course coverage has moved on since March and these changes should be reflected in our latest coverage summaries for Scotland and its council areas.


Click image for larger version
thinkbroadband has a map with postcode level detail rather than area shading.

Scotland may have a target of universal superfast broadband coverage by 2021 (we guess this means by the end of 2021 which is how these targets usually work) but how this will be achieved is not clearly defined as Audit Scotland notes. Part of the problem is not knowing precisely where BT/Openreach will deliver (which is also impacting on a number of the community solutions the Scottish Government is supporting). One reason its not known exactly where Openreach will go is because of cost caps, i.e. a maximum of £1,700 is allowed to be spent on a premise to get it superfast broadband, but this can be exceeded after value-for-money checks, and this means to date 150 premises were in the plan but have missed out and a further 4,450 premises that breached the spend cap have been found alternate solutions.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across Scotland as percentage of premises covered
Council areas in alphabetical order - figures 15th August 2016
Area % fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
% Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO
Scotland 90.4% 86.4% 85.6% 39.8% 0.01% 1.3% 7.5%
Highlands and Islands Project Area 77.6% 65.4% 63.3% 0.02% 0.02% 5.8% 27.7%
Rest of Scotland Project Area 91.6% 88.5% 87.8% 43.8% 0.01% 1.4% 6.1%
Aberdeenshire 84.7% 73.5% 72.3% 0% 0% 5.1% 19.1%
Angus 83.5% 76.6% 75.8% 14.6 0% 2.6% 12.6%
Argyll and Bute 65.7% 57.3% 56.2% 0% 0% 3.6% 29.5%
City of Edinburgh 95.6% 95.3% 95.3% 84.8% 0% 0% 1.1%
Clackmannanshire 92.1% 90.4% 89.9% 0.2% 0% 0.4% 2.1%
Dumfries and Galloway 85.1% 72.2% 70.1% 0.01% 0.01% 4.5% 20.5%
Dundee City 98.7% 98.3% 98.3% 89.2% 0% 0% 0.3%
East Ayrshire 91.1% 84.8% 82.9% 0.9% 0% 1.5% 7.1%
East Dunbartonshire 93.7% 91.7% 90.9% 77% 0% 0.2% 1.5%
East Lothian 82.6% 77.9% 77.1% 0% 0% 1.4% 7.9%
East Renfrewshire 94.4% 93.2% 92.8% 71.3% 0% 0.1% 1.5%
Falkirk 93% 91.8% 91.7% 82.5% 0% 0.3% 5.2%
Fife 93.9% 91.3% 90.5% 31.2% 0% 0.7% 4.2%
Glasgow City 95.3% 94.7% 94.3% 54.5% 0.01% 0.1% 0.8%
Highland 80.1% 67.2% 65.2% 0.02% 0.02% 4.5% 25.2%
Inverclyde 92.4% 90.9% 90.6% 70% 0% 0.1% 1.9%
Midlothian 86% 81.4% 80.7% 0.7% 0.01% 1.2% 7.7%
Moray 89.1% 79.3% 76.7% 0.03% 0.03% 3.6% 12.8%
Na h-Eileanan an Iar 47.6% 34.5% 33% 0% 0% 3.3% 52.3%
North Ayrshire 87.1% 83.5% 82.7% 7.7% 0% 0.8% 4.8%
North Lanarkshire 95.7% 94.4% 94.1% 69% 0% 0.2% 2.5%
Orkney Islands 65.4% 50.6% 47.4% 0% 0% 5.7% 42.5%
Perth and Kinross 78.1% 69.2% 68.1% 32.7% 0% 2.8% 19.7%
Renfrewshire 94.6% 93.4% 93.1% 72.2% 0% 0.1% 1.2%
Scottish Borders 81.7% 70.5% 68.7% 0.1% 0.09 4.3% 20.3%
Shetland Islands 68.7% 54.1% 51.7% 0% 0% 5.3 39.1%
South Ayrshire 88.3% 84.7% 83.7% 6.6% 0% 1.1% 10.4%
South Lanarkshire 94.3% 91% 90.3% 58.4% 0% 1.1% 5.3%
Stirling 85.5% 80.6% 79.2% 0% 0% 2% 10.9%
West Dunbartonshire 97.2% 96.5% 96.4% 87.9% 0% 0.2% 1%
West Lothian 87.9% 86.5% 86% 41.3% 0.05% 0.3% 4.4%

This is a lot of data and Audit Scotland report has its own breakdown, and we would encourage people in Scotland to look up their area and pay particular attention to the timeline of the roll-outs available via the history button option on the coverage pie chart, which gives some idea of the pace the roll-out is happening in a particular area - or not.

Scotland is starting to see Openreach FTTP appear in small numbers, some of this is actually native FTTP for new build premises, and there are some areas where we were expecting FTTP but VDSL2 was delivered instead and this may be some of those 4,450 where alternative options were found.

Moving forward the key figures are the USO coverage levels, especially as these seem more directly linked to the level of anger expressed on social media. Scotland is leading the race in eradicating exchange only lines, but still plenty to do in that area, for Scotland overall we believe around 5.5% of lines are EO based at this time, and that rises to 22.4% in the Highlands and Islands.

Comments

Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
The report is light on what BT's expected capital contribution (£19m for H&I and £106m for RoS). £156m for 2,500 cabinets leaves little room for BT.
This report does not deal adequately with this matter.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
For the record the work needs applauding, 2,500 cabs, 18 submarine cables and the aggregation nodes all need saluting. The reported underspends, the clawback and the loans do demand that the BT capital contribution is reported upon.
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
Really interesting report.

I note that the auditors don't question BT's capital contribution, nor call for it to be published.
Posted by CecilWard 4 months ago
Superb reporting, thanks very much from Skye (2.5 Mbps, 66 dB attn)
Posted by smokeping1 4 months ago
Yeah, right-read the small print from the report

"But work has so far focused on easier to reach areas"

"The Scottish Government has much to do if its ambition for world class digital infrastructure is still to be achieved by 2020.This includes defining clearly what world class means and setting out plans for how it will be achieved."

As usual, they have done the easy stuff, to get the numbers up-they should have concentrated on the rural areas first. 24Mb/sec as the benchmark?-some world class that is, and even when complete, 25% of homes passed will need "other technologies" to >24Mb/sec!


Posted by fastman 3 months ago
smoke -- so what do you call islands where 18 submarine cables have had to be laid between mainland Scotland and the islands - including ng funding a cable ship (I assume VFM has igoredd that in his 26k cab assumption as it not an published line in an account) sctlkand is hard so using the phrase the easy stuff and is certainly correct
Posted by ValueforMoney 3 months ago
Fastman, Audit Scotland have confirmed they have not checked for BT capital, it will be in next years report. I think here it looks like £152m for c2,500 cabs before clawback and BT Capital of which I think some £30m of the £47m would be due.
Posted by ValueforMoney 3 months ago
Fastman, the clawback to date is from the £129m rather than the accumulated deferral of £270m so another £20+m will owed plus the capital.
So yes it higher but the £26k was the BT reported average nationally given to CMS by BT.
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