Broadband News

Scottish broadband project declares more than 950,000 premises able to benefit from partial or full fibre

The Digital Scotland has always been slightly confusing in terms of referring to the number of premises that can now benefit from fibre broadband as a result of the project. To be clear they are using 'fibre broadband' as shorthand for a mixture of Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises, where the FTTC service dominates.

The headline figure is that more than 950,000 premises have benefited from the £463 million programme in its seven years and this is 110,000 extra premises than originally expected.

I’m delighted that the programme has far exceeded its expected delivery target at the outset of and has gone on to provide better broadband technology to more than 950,000 homes and businesses all over Scotland - an amazing achievement. In the Scottish Borders alone, access to superfast broadband has also increased from 21% of premises in Jan 2014 to almost 88% now and, while we are putting in place investment to complete coverage, the progress made since 2014 is something that the DSSB team can be rightly proud of.

Having fast and reliable internet is absolutely vital to communities across the country. As we emerge from lockdown, it helps businesses stay connected with customers and colleagues, as well as helping families to stay in touch, learn, work, play and shop – over 65% of people who have fibre available to them have already signed up to receive services and that is more than double the take up that had been modelled.

That’s why it was fantastic to find out how Ridelines, an excellent local business, has been benefitting from the infrastructure, delivered as part of the DSSB programme, and that it has made such a difference to the day-to-day running of the business before and after Covid-19 and to the business’ owner and his family as well.

Minister for Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse

In the past the fibre premises passed figure has usually aligned with our tracking of availability at speeds of 10 or 15 Mbps, but our latest figures don't neatly line up. This may be down to identifying some community led interventions or commercial Openreach FTTP roll-outs as being part of the programme, but as of the morning of 27th July 2020 the combined total of superfast (30 Mbps or better) delivered by Digital Scotland was 1,003,872 premises (152,465 premises in the Highlands and Islands and a further 851,467 spread across the rest of Scotland. In the Rest of Scotland our tracking will include properties that have gained via the commercial Virgin Media roll-out who while maybe had VDSL2 available but at sub superfast speeds, which further explains the higher figure.

The later phases of the Digital Scotland contract has involved more FTTP, 4% of premises in the Highlands and Islands area and in the Rest of Scotland it is as high as 15%. We don't believe that the project has delivered all that FTTP in the Rest of Scotland area, a chunk of this is going to be Fibre First roll-out or new build properties. If the BDUK frameworks were to continue in the same form we would go through the effort of identifying and excluding this additional FTTP properties.

The breakdowns of the Scottish councils and constituencies is available on our stats site and while the projects in Scotland have delivered a lot, the  Orkney Islands are still languishing with 64.9% superfast coverage and the Shetland Islands is at 75.2%. Orkney while not doing well for Superfast coverage is still a lot better than the 11% we knew about in 2014. In terms speed tests seen at the end of Q2 2016 23% of tests were identified as FTTC based and jumping forward four years that rose to 45.7%.

The replacement for the BDUK contracts are three R100 contracts, but for the area of Scotland with the greatest need there is a legal dispute set to delay the roll-out of superfast services. The R100 contracts should also be almost exclusively FTTP based.

Comments

Hah... "fast and reliable internet" must be a joke (in the Rural South-West of Scotland anyway). I gave up on my BT FTTC connection when it slowed over two years from 8Mbps down, 1Mbps up to 5Mbps down, 0.8 up and the Handback Threshold kept sagging with it. I have gone for 4G while I wait... and wait...

  • DanielCoffey
  • 15 days ago

I live in an exchange area that has been promised FTTP for several years now. Openreach contractors have installed fibre and shiny new fibre distribution points across the village. We have gone from "you will shortly be connected" to "no plans for your area" during the last month and are now told that the DSSB programme is finished and they were unable to complete bringing fibre to our village. Openreach project management is a farce as far as we are concerned to say the least.

  • chriswillsher
  • 15 days ago

In cases like this i.e. phantom kit, they stop because they've hit the contract targets and if they just carry on then they pay for it all themselves. i.e. any overshoot that they want paying for has to be agreed with Scottish Gov

Same has happened in Wales and other areas too

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 15 days ago

I'll echo the comments about the Rural South-West, no FTTC availability, just given up on the generally 3.5Mbps down 380k up ADSL2+, and gone to 4g; the speed can be erratic, but always faster than the ADSL2+.

  • brianhe
  • 15 days ago

"... but for the area of Scotland with the greatest need there is a legal dispute set to delay the roll-out of superfast services."

And therefore in this farcical "Alice Through The Looking-Glass" world of rural broadband and R100, the "Digital Divide" is getting wider, and wider, and wider. Perhaps StarLink might soon offer something, rather than the "nothing" that is presently on offer.

  • NorthSkye
  • 15 days ago

I live in the R100 area that has the GigaClear challenge, so nothing will happen here for many years. I'm currently getting around 34Mb/23Mb on EE 4G but have sometimes had up to 70Mb/60Mb.

FTTC/FTTP are dead, as far as this part of the world is concerned. By the time our house gets included in any FTTP plans we'll most likely also have 5G available.

  • jimwillsher
  • 15 days ago

HIE Below 2 Mbps down: 4.22% Below 10 Mbps down: (Legal USO) 11.96%
RoS Below 2 Mbps down: 0.87% Below 10 Mbps down: (Legal USO) 2.28%

ROS Ultrafast (>100 Mbps):57.98% HiE Ultrafast (>100 Mbps): 4.04%

Winners and losers in this game. Best for Mr wheelhouse to stick to Whole of Scotland figures or concentrate on the RoS, Oh wait he did, As did BDUK.

  • Swac3
  • 15 days ago

With phantom kit, it might be worth a punt putting in a FTTPoD assuming you are fed from a cabinet. There must be a reduction in the cost due to all the preexisting kit.

  • jabuzzard
  • 15 days ago

For years, until December 2019 our home was “IN SCOPE” suddenly removed from DSSB programme due to a problem with the POND but your in the R100 project.
With the R100 mess I it could be up to 5 years until we receive a fibre connection. Interim vouchers to subsidise overloaded 4G or satellite access starts sometime in 2021, will not be sub £20pm as city dwellers.
Covid has shown that fibre is essential for rural homes to support telemedicine.
R100 needs commercial expertise not civil servants. SG should take the bull by the horns reach a solution and progress work NOW.

  • davidabz
  • 15 days ago

Unfortunately FTTPoD is not an option as our exchange is 100% EO. Not a green cabinet to be seen anywhere. I have now submitted an application to the Community Fibre Partnership on behalf of the 40 properties that had all been promised FTTP as well as a USO application on behalf of myself. It will interesting to see if when the costs come in if they try to include the work already done?

  • chriswillsher
  • 14 days ago

Work that has been done but not lead to service being available is still waiting to assigned to the right set of accounts.

So if a CFP was to be built, there would be a contribution towards kit that was already there. Fairly standard accounting in a large company.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 14 days ago

They like to quote RoS or whole of Scotland figures as the central belt makes them look better.
Here in SW constituency figures are below 2 Mbps down: 4.40% Below 10 Mbps down(Legal USO) 8.78%

  • brianhe
  • 14 days ago

Ha! The Struan exchange is EO and we cannot even get the 10B/s USO service there. There's no 3G or 4G coverage either.

I wonder if R100 will ever deliver.

  • bsdnazz
  • 13 days ago

bsdnazz We've given up on R100 and now use EE 4G. We've even cancelled our BT line. I'm surprised you have no 4G, as that is surely your best hope if you are rural like we are.

  • jimwillsher
  • 12 days ago

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