Scotland announces verified 95% fibre coverage target
The Scottish Government is confident that another milestone has been reaching in broadband coverage with 95% of premises in Scotland able to access a fibre broadband service, we asked what this definition is and fibre broadband includes premises connected to a VDSL2 cabinet with any speed. .
The press release for once does include a superfast coverage figure of 92.7% for coverage at over 24 Mbps and has been verified on the latest data (again we have asked for the date of the data used for the verification, since we know that many projects when verifying are using coverage data that is 1 to 3 months old and shortly after original article publication we have been told the verfication takes three months so is from December 2017). Coverage of high speed broadband is announced as at 95.5% - the common definition of high speed is a download speed above 15 Mbps.
This is a landmark for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which has connected around 890,000 premises to fibre broadband, and is ensuring Scotland can offer world-class digital infrastructure. Without the DSSB programme only 66% of Scotland would have been able to receive fibre broadband.
While this is fantastic news, I am determined to go even further, I am aware that those who do not have access are at a disadvantage and our job is not done until everyone is connected. We are now focusing on the next steps to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2021.Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing
There is more delivery to come in 2018 as BT continue through the original contract or gainshare work and we are seeing new cabinets added almost weekly and in Scotland are still spotting new build postcodes some with FTTP and some left with ADSL2+ or VDSL2 on the way or Virgin Media cable.
The announcement differs from our current coverage in Scotland where we are recording 93.66% (16th April) with access to superfast (over 24 Mbps) broadband and 94.78% with high speed broadband. To give some idea of the pace of change the last data pushed to the public site was 14th April and superfast sat at 93.65% and back on 7th April the superfast figure was 93.59% and at the end of 2017 we were showing a 93.04% superfast figure for Scotland. Another possible reason our figures may differ is that as we have shown in the past Huawei cabinets deliver better speeds for VDSL2 compared to the ECI cabinets and this was rolled into our coverage analysis the final quarter of 2017, in Q1 2018 our speed test analysis recorded a median download speed of 30.3 Mbps for Huawei VDSL2 cabinets versus 26.1 Mbps for ECI (the mean download speeds are closer 32.4 Mbps versus 29.2 Mbps) and crucially this benefit does extend into the 1km and beyond range which means a Huawei cabinet gives a wider superfast footprint.
Update 10:02am The response to our questions arrived just after we had published and at the start of December 2017 we were showing 92.72% superfast coverage for Scotland and on 31st December this had risen to 93.04% so much closer to the verified figures. What is interesting is that the fibre of any speed figure for the end of 2017 was 96.2% and this includes postcodes like IV54 8UY which is a good 5km from the cabinet and thus VDSL2 is impossible hence it not showing as an option at all on the BT Wholesale checker and a long line warning with no technology indicator on the Openreach site.