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BT and Digital Scotland unveil superfast fibre broadband plans

Digital Scotland has announced details of its superfast fibre-based broadband plans with BT. 

BT has been awarded a contract that will see up to 85 per cent of Scottish properties getting access to superfast broadband by 2015. By 2017, this figure will have increased to 95 per cent. By the end of the project, it’s estimated that over 600,000 locations across Scotland will benefit from the £264 million investment. 

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Today’s announcement signals the start of one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the whole of Europe. It will connect communities across rural and urban areas, providing a platform for future economic development and regeneration.” 

BT and Digital Scotland unveil superfast fibre broadband plans
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Digital Scotland’s plans at Glasgow’s Pitt Street exchange

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Fibre Broadband and BDUK and BT Broadband Rollout UpdatesAs has been the case with every Broadband Delivery for the UK (BDUK) contract awarded to BT so far, the majority of homes and business premises will benefit from FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections. 

This currently provides top download speeds of 80Mbps. The speed you ultimately end up getting depends on your proximity to a connected street cabinet. Like traditional ADSL broadband, the further away you are the slower your connection speed will be. 

A small number of locations will benefit from the faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections that provide speeds of up to 330Mbps. Where FTTC connections are available, customers will have the option of paying to upgrade the copper last mile with a fibre-optic line for a one-off fee. 
 
Bill Murphy, BT managing director of Next Generation Access, said: “Having invested significantly in our own commercial project to build a fibre network covering almost 1.5 million premises in Scotland, we’re incredibly excited to be working in partnership with the Scottish Government and local authorities to extend the technology into those mainly rural and remote parts of Scotland that the market alone could not reach.”

Back in March, BT signed a contract to deliver superfast broadband to Scotland’s Highlands and Islands region. This will involve the construction of over 800 kilometers of fibre backbone across to bring broadband access to some remote regions.

BT contributed £106.7 million to the Digital Scotland project and £50 million is coming from the government’s Broadband Delivery for the UK (BDUK) fund. An extra £90 million came from 32 Scottish local councils alongside £20 million from the European Union.

In total, over £410 million will be spent on turbo-charging Scotland’s broadband infrastructure. As well as fibre-based broadband solutions, Scotland has also benefitted from innovative projects like the HUBS’ Tegola project. Carlisle-based ISP Solway Communications also provides wireless broadband to parts of Gretna and Three is connecting 20 communities across the Highlands to its HSPA+ ‘Ultrafast’ mobile broadband network. 

Image credit: Flickr user baaker2009

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