Broadband News

First £4.5 million from £1.2 billion of £5 billion for Gigabit broadband awarded

The first bit of money from what is eventually meant to be £5 billion of spending to deliver Gigabit capable services in areas where providers fear to tread commercially has been handed out.

The £4.5 million will seem very small compared to the £1,200 million allocated to be spent before end of 2025, which is itself part of a larger pot of £5,000 million which will eventually be used to fill in the gap between commercial roll-outs and as close as possible to 100% Gigabit coverage as possible.

The area seeing the first bit of extra money is already part of the Scottish R100 plan which while dominated by FTTP is still slated to deliver FTTC/VDSL2 in some cases due to the costs of rolling out FTTP in central Scotland. The extra £4.5 million means that rather than seeing a partial fibre service those 5,300 premises will see a FTTP solution and given Openreach hold the R100 contracts this will be Openreach FTTP.

The £4,5 million from Westminster is in addition to the £83 million already allocated to central Scotland by the Scottish Government. In terms of delivery via R100 this money has tweaked what the 120,000 properties expected to see intervention so that now in the Central lot 95% will be delivered via FTTP (100% in the South lot and 86% in the Northern lot).

The past year has demonstrated beyond doubt just how vital digital connectivity is across all areas of our lives – from health, wellbeing and education to social and economic recovery.

That’s why the Scottish Government is investing £579 million in funding towards the £600 million cost of our Reaching 100% programme, building the infrastructure which, together with commercially-driven work, will ensure access to superfast broadband speeds to 100% of homes and businesses across Scotland.

The vast majority of connections being delivered to more than 120,000 premises through our investment in the three R100 area contracts - 100% in South, 86% in North and, now, 95% in Central - will be through fibre directly to the premises, delivering gigabit capability, providing connection speeds 30 times faster than our superfast commitment, and resilient, future-proofed connectivity for decades to come.

Scotland’s Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse

The current ambition for the UK is 85% Gigabit coverage at the end of 2025 and as of this morning we are at 38.64% Gigabit coverage (20.59% FTTP) so a lot more work to do both commercially and via public money.

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