Broadband News

Rural and Urban superfast broadband coverage in Scotland

It has been 14 months since we last provided an update on the spread of superfast broadband availability across Scotland using the ONS rural/urban definitions to split the premises in many postcodes into their various categories.

For those living in what are considered a very remote rural area the 54.4% superfast availability figure while a significant improvement on the figures from over a year ago illustrates why people who live those areas are so vocal and may feel justified when saying the roll-outs have ignored them, but then given two years ago figure was zero, it is incorrect to say the most rural areas have been missed out totally.

NOTE The contracted target, or at least the one quoted most often in Scotland is a 95% fibre based broadband by end of 2017 and at 96.2% it appears this has already been passed in Scotland, but we suspect there is a speed qualifier of 5, 10 or 15 Mbps that needs to be applied to that. Our table is presenting the 30 Mbps and faster figures as most people accept that superfast broadband is currently the point at which people stop complaining, since you can stream a few videos and still browse the web with 30 Mbps.

AreaPremisesSuperfast Coverage 30 Mbps and faster
Large Urban Area



69.3% 69.7% 74.5% 81.4% 87.8% 93% 96.1% 98.2%
Other Urban Area



42.7% 45.1% 50.5% 66% 85.1% 90.1% 94.4% 98.5%
Accessible Rural



4.1% 4.8% 6% 9.6% 20% 44.1% 58.5% 72.1%
Accessible Small Town



4.5% 4.5% 6% 12.8% 48.1% 73.6% 86.6% 96.3%
Remote Rural



0% 0% 0.6% 0.7% 6.9% 26.3% 42.5% 60.6%
Very Remote Rural



0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 11.7% 33.5% 54.4%
Remote Small Town



0% 0% 5.5% 5.5% 36.4% 72.3% 86.8% 96.2%
Very Remote Small Town



0% 0% 0% 0% 9.5% 71.1% 87.5% 95.8%

In addition to the data from 27th November we have added the number of actual premises as well as the percentage of Scotland the definition covers to further help people visualise the levels of work still to do as Scotland works towards getting its R100 contract(s) signed.


Thanks Andrew

One fascinating nugget comes from the various "small town" categories: Coverage rates have been almost identical over the last 3 years (at 72%, 87%, 96%), irrespective of whether the town was classified as "accessible", "remote" or "very remote".

  • WWWombat
  • 5 months ago

2nd nugget is when you calculate which sub-group has the highest absolute number of under-served premises.

It turns out that the "accessible rural" group has more premises left to be done than the total for "remote rural" and "very remote rural" combined. In 4th place comes "large urban area".

  • WWWombat
  • 5 months ago

That's very interesting. What it would seem to confirm is that remoteness of settlements is not the most significant predictor, it's their size. Small towns seem to be fairly similar in coverage, no matter how remote. Probably predictable given a cabinet-based approach (although it would be interesting to know the definition of a small town - is it a town in the official designation sense, or would a large village fall under the same definition?).

The challenge is small hamlets and scattered dwellings which, presumably, means more FTTP unless there's an FttRN/DP deployment breaktrhough.

  • TheEulerID
  • 5 months ago

Verbal definitions are at as the Scottish Government 8 fold Urban Rural Classification

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 5 months ago

Thanks for this. Just found that I'm classed as "accessible rural". In the 4 years I've lived here my speed has doubled to an amazing 2.3Mbps (being sarcastic there) and that is the best I'm able to get at present.

  • dewt
  • 5 months ago

Accessible rural here as well - connected to a fibre enabled cabinet, but too far away to receive any uplift in speed via FTTC. Tried signing up to the Community Broadband Scheme a while back but was told that our postcode is included in the "Phase 5 infill" so it didn't make any sense for me to spend money on a bespoke connection. Now, when I quiz Scotland Superfast, all I get is a canned response.

  • Tolq
  • 5 months ago

Tolq seems to echo our position in this we're in an area the broadband checker show as all green yet are too far from a cabinet to benefit, we're not'remote community' so rural broadband funding doesnt work, we're too far from the exchange/cabinets and houses are spread out approx 800m a fttc cabinet installed somewhere centrally would only end up covering 5 or six houses at the current range of fttc, yet fttp is a huge cost, in my case an estimated 17 thousand plus the current 3 year contract price.
Its hard to see what, given the current options is going to solve the problem of us.

  • Swac3
  • 5 months ago

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