Scotland starts ball rolling on 100% superfast coverage procurement
The Scottish Government has published a Prior Information Notice on its R100 project that is the Scottish Government's ambition to bring 100% superfast broadband coverage to Scotland. The definition of superfast is 30 Mbps and faster and thus this exceeds the Westminster USO of a minimum 10 Mbps by a long way.
"The purpose of this programme is to facilitate the deployment of infrastructure that will support superfast broadband connections (i.e. above 30 megabit per second (Mbps)) to premises that will not receive such a service with existing or planned infrastructure by the end of 2021 with significant progress by the end of 2018."Extract from notice
The prior notice is so that potential suppliers can engage and thus the Scottish Government get an idea of what providers and technology options are open to them and we presume get some ball park ideas of the cost. The existing BDUK process comprises of the Highlands and Islands in one project, and the Rest of Scotland, running alongside a number of community initiates - the indications are that we can expect several procurements/lots to make up the contracts in taking coverage from whatever the contracts with BT deliver to the 100% mark.
We have re-worked our coverage data to allow us to express it in terms of the rural/urban definitions that are used in Scottish political circles and the progress over a number of years, along with the relative sizes of each area of Scotland is shown below. The interesting part with the BT projects marching onwards to a 95% fibre based coverage target what will the rural/urban splits look like.
|Area||% of Scottish Premises||Superfast Coverage 30 Mbps and faster|
|Large Urban Area||40%||69.3%||69.7%||74.5%||81.4%||87.8%||93%||96.1%|
|Other Urban Area||28.8%||42.7%||45.1%||50.5%||66%||85.1%||90.1%||94.4%|
|Accessible Small Town||8.5%||4.5%||4.5%||6%||12.8%||48.1%||73.6%||86.6%|
|Very Remote Rural||3%||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%||11.7%||33.5%|
|Remote Small Town||2.4%||0%||0%||5.5%||5.5%||36.4%||72.3%||86.8%|
|Very Remote Small Town||1.3%||0%||0%||0%||0%||9.5%||71.1%||87.5%|
Correction Monday 12th September: Due to the various methods used to record the go live date for various areas the original data analysis included some cabinets that had actually gone live later in the time lines. We have re-run the data analysis and updated figures are shown above. The result of this is that the change over time is much more pronounced in the more rural areas and this may not be a popular sentence with those who have not benefited from the project yet, but the corrected figures highlight the level of change the project has brought to rural areas of Scotland.
The pace of change for the different areas of Scotland shows that while the commercial roll-out was handling the most urban areas, it was not until the Scottish projects started deliver did significant improvements happen in the smaller towns, and the figures also show the amount of work left to do in the most remote areas where the distances involved highlight the problems of any technology that has distance limitations (VDSL2 in this case) since VDSL2 has passed some 53.5% of Very Remote Rural premises but it is only 33.5% that qualify as superfast at 30 Mbps and faster..