Broadband News

Scottish MP criticises Scottish Parliament over delays to awarding R100 contracts

John Lamont, the Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk has written a letter to the Scottish First Minister to try and ascertain how many bids are involved in the R100 broadband project and when might all of the contracts be awarded.

The answer is pretty short and it is that there are three credible bids in play at this time and awarding of the contract is expected in 2019.

Originally the contracts were promised in 2018 and the deadline for the completion of the project is the end of 2021, so taking the most generous end of the financial year the deadline is just 24 months away and if our figure of 177,208 premises not having access to a 30 Mbps service currently via fixed line broadband is correct those getting awarded a contract (or maybe multiple contracts) have a lot of planning and then implementation to complete in a relatively short space of time.

Scotland under the current BDUK contracts which is still delivering connectivity in the form of additional VDSL2 cabinets and increasingly FTTP is split into two with the Highlands and Islands region covering 9.3% of premises spread over a large area and while fibre (i.e. VDSL2 at any speed from zero upwards) covers 91.7% of premises once you factor in the distance versus speed drop off to meet a 30 Mbps minimum coverage is down at 79.1%. The Scottish Borders have a similar distance drop off, i.e. dropping from 94.6% to 84.4% once the 30 Mbps filter is applied, though the Borders does have an increasing amount of full fibre at 2.1%, three times the availability for the Highlands and Islands.

We suspect that a similar pattern to what has happened in Wales may emerge in that bids may not take on the full complement of areas that need work at this time but prefer to concentrate on areas where they know they can deliver within a set timescale and subsequent to this rely on small contracts or extensions to continue work. It is also very possible that if too much pressure is put on bidders that just as was the case with the first phase of BDUK contracts that some bidding will drop out of the process leaving just one supplier - most likely BT Group.

Comments

Hi Andrew, think you forgot the 'one' "some bidding will drop out of the process living just supplier - most likely BT Group"

  • jumpmum
  • about 1 month ago

Dropped the one...

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

@Andrew
Surely it should read “leaving” not “living”?

  • New_Londoner
  • about 1 month ago

Leaving people with no decent broadband and no idea when any improvements will happen for even longer

  • brianhe
  • about 1 month ago

I wouldn't really trust what Lamont says about anything. Take what he says with a grain of salt.

Openreach have been pushing for the contract and have been working in the area to push FTTP and G.Fast.

Granted more competition with cityfibre or gigaclear would be nice for the area.

G.Fast has started to appear in the Borders town I live in at the moment

  • Supertourinvec
  • about 1 month ago

Needs to be pointed out that G.fast does nothing to help those with slow speeds.

FTTP of course does, assuming it is delivered in the right places.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

There is a hint in the consultation document that as part of the shift to full fibre might see some targeted G.Fast aka some FTTdp which could/would help people with slow speeds.

  • jabuzzard
  • about 1 month ago

Yeah g.fast does not help people on slow speed due to how limiting the product is. That's probably why they're deploying it in the inner town that I'm in.

That's probably why they're hinting towards fibre deployment itself but we'd need clearer info on that since it's up in the air considering there's 3 potential bidders.

Ive been prodding openreach about their plans and they've been somewhat open about it which is more information than I would get from John Lamont

  • Supertourinvec
  • about 1 month ago

I should say many potential bidders

  • Supertourinvec
  • about 1 month ago

Broadband in Scotland is reserved to the U.K Govt, so John be asking his boss what the deal is? ;)

https://theferret.scot/theresa-may-scotland-broadband-powers/

  • brusuth
  • about 1 month ago

R100 is in the SGs hands nothing from the UK blocking them. Its their own delays.

  • Croft12
  • about 1 month ago

The BDUK side of things was also run by SG, and it is their responsibility when false information is given to the public

  • brianhe
  • 30 days ago

You can say that all you like, responsibility is still with the U.K. Govt. anything else is just supplementary, originally initiated because the former was doing such a poor job.

  • brusuth
  • 28 days ago

@brusuth You appear to be a Scotsman who rather than accept that your government has cocked this up prefers to blame the UK government who despite your assertions have nothing to do with R100 in Scotland. The £600M for the Reaching 100 programme was from the Scottish budget and a wholly Scottish initiative with the Scottish government responsible for procurement.

  • MCM999
  • 28 days ago

I’m

  • brusuth
  • 27 days ago

Fat fingers.. I’m English actually, living in Scotland. Not a fan of either Govts. As I said.. it is a supplementary project, the responsibility is May and her Govt. it irks me greatly that a Tory is trying to shift the blame for poor connectivity in Scotland.

  • brusuth
  • 27 days ago

Interesting ... My MP, David Mundell SoS for Scotland, wrote to me on 17/10/2017 stating:
"The Scottish Government is responsible for delivering rural broadband in Scotland"
He referred me to written (Westminster) Parliamentary question No. 71659 tabled by Alex Salmond and replied to by Matt Hammond the then SoS for C,M & S. See - https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-04-21/71659/

Thus David passed the buck to his son Oliver Mundell (my MSP) whose lack of interest in the subject is quite amazing.

  • rhum
  • 27 days ago

Superfast Scotland was definitely setup by SG, information from them at best has been poor, at worse simply outright wrong, apparently aimed at shutting people up. The scheme has been targeted at chasing numbers by generally upgrading those with the best connectivity, ignoring rural properties and making any community scheme to give wider connectivity non-viable.

  • brianhe
  • 27 days ago

@brianhe - I fully agree. It also appears that Openreach (or is it BTW?) were left as the decision makers as to what was 'value for money' in the rollout of Superfast Scotland.

It seems like an odd concept - the contractor telling the customer what is good value and what they'll be charged!

  • rhum
  • 27 days ago

Living in Perthshire, I gave up waiting for this to happen, and opted for 4G from EE. I get 60Mb/s (often as fast in both directions) and it's rock solid reliable. I'm now even considering getting rid of my phone line altogether.

Where I live, there's little chance of getting fibre - let alone decent fibre - so a wireless option seemed best, and it has proven to be the case.

It's not cheap. I pay £50/month for 500GB (I got an offer from EE) and I pay AAISP £10/month for a L2TP static routeable IP. It works brilliantly.

BT....BT who?

  • jimwillsher
  • 26 days ago

"4G from EE"... who just happen to be owned by BT. Yes I'm hopeful that the Scottish "4G Infill Programme" will offer me a broadband solution. Currently (in Dumfries & Galloway - only 5 miles by road from the A76) I get 0.5 Mbps on a good day.

Presently I'm writing this whilst on holiday on Mull - 8 miles from Tobermory and am enjoying download speeds of 75 Mbps ... 150 times faster. Undoubtedly Openreach must have thought it was value for money for the Scottish Government to ensure that this outlying community benefited from ultrafast broadband.

It could of course be a Community Scheme?

  • rhum
  • 26 days ago

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