Rural superfast broadband project Digital Scotland has announced the next locations to be connected by BT this summer.
The £410 million projects will bring fibre-based broadband to 39,000 homes and business premises across Scotland.
Many locations where BT has already installed superfast broadband as part of its own commercial rollout will see additional premises connected. Others, such as Melrose and Scone will be receiving high speed broadband for the first time.
Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, said: “Today marks an important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe.
“It’s fantastic news that many rural communities and businesses, from the Highlands to the Borders, will soon begin to see the benefits of high quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term.”
In both cases the work is being undertaken by BT, which is deploying over 800 kilometers of fibre optic backbone, including 19 undersea cable connections, to bring superfast broadband to the most remote regions.
In the great majority of places, those who are in line to get superfast broadband will be connected to an FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) line, which currently provides top speeds of 80Mbps.
Trials of vectoring and G.fast technology could see these speeds extended in some areas. Longer term, the plan is that customers will be able to upgrade from FTTC to faster and more future-proofed FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections.
BT has launched an FTTP On Demand programme, but it’s currently only available to business customers in selected areas and is priced way beyond what most households could reasonably be expected to fork out.
Digital Scotland admits that some properties connected to exchanges announced today won’t be able to access superfast broadband at the time of rollout, due to technical and logistical limitations. Further announcements will be made as deployment continues.
It’s a similar story across the rest of the UK; while your exchange might be greenlit for FTTC, it’s not always a sure sign that you’ll be able to get superfast broadband.
While waiting for updates from BT, a checking with SamKnows is a good way to see if your home is on the superfast roadmap. Failing that, keep an eye out for a nearby street cabinet, like the one pictured above, to see if a superfast broadband sticker has been slapped on the side.
The list of exchanges and areas to be connected by Summer 2014 are:
|Exchange Area||Local Authority|
|Aberdeen Bieldside||Aberdeen City|
|Aberdeen Kingswells||Aberdeen City|
|Amisfield||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Castle Douglas||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Dundee Invergowrie||Dundee City|
|Almondbank||Perth and Kinross|
|Dundee Invergowrie||Perth and Kinross|
|Methven||Perth and Kinross|
|Scone||Perth and Kinross|
|Bridge Of Allan||Stirling|
|Ledaig||Argyll and Bute|
|Taynuilt||Argyll and Bute|
Areas to benefit from additional superfast coverage from BT are:
|Exchange Area||Local Authority|
|Aberdeen Lochnagar||Aberdeen City|
|Aberdeen West||Aberdeen City|
|Dumfries||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Dundee Steeple||Dundee City|
|Perth||Perth and Kinross|
|Oban||Argyll and Bute|
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Our engineers have been working hard behind the scenes with colleagues in local and national Government to get us to this point. Planning a project on this scale, to get the very best value for money and maximum coverage, is a phenomenal task.”
Digital Scotland has been partially funded by money from Scottish local authorities and the UK government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme. Additional money has come from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and BT.
The Highlands & Islands plan will see 84 per cent of the region able to connect to superfast broadband by the end of 2016.
The project covering the rest of Scotland will initially connect 85 per cent of properties by the end of 2015, and at least 95 per cent by 2016.
Beyond this, the Scottish Government has plans to expand superfast coverage, delivering fibre broadband to all communities with 1,000 premises and/or 2,000 residents by 2020.
BT has so far snapped up all of the BDUK contracts and as it’s the sole remaining bidder, looks set to acquire the South Yorkshire contract too. Recently BT revealed the latest areas in Wales to be connected as part of the Superfast Cymru programme, which aims to bring fibre-based broadband to 96 per cent of Wales.