Superfast broadband for thousands of Aberdeen homes and businesses
More than 4,850 homes and businesses in the Aberdeen City Council area will get fibre broadband as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland partnership, it was announced today.
Around 3,250 premises in the Bieldside and Kingswells exchange areas will receive high speed technology for the first time, while nearly 1,600 additional premises will be connected in the West and Lochnagar exchange areas as a result of building upon their existing fibre broadband. Around 4,200 more Kingswells premises which fall within Aberdeenshire Council boundaries will also be covered.
The Aberdeen communities are among more than 39,000 homes and businesses in 37 places across the country which will be able to access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* by Summer 2014 as BT engineers deploy the technology. [A full list of locations can be found at the end of this news release.]
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 these communities and businesses in Aberdeen and around the country will soon begin to see the benefits of high quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term.
"However, this is not the limit of Scotland's ambition. The Scottish Government's aim is to deliver world class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device."
Council leader Barney Crockett said: "This is really great news for Aberdeen residents and businesses, which I am sure will be warmly welcomed.
"We remain committed to our original Accelerate Aberdeen scheme, which aims to provide world-class high-speed broadband in Aberdeen and are working with broadband providers to ensure that Aberdeen City Council continues working with the DCMS and separately with the Scottish Government to secure improved broadband infrastructure for the North-east."
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative consists of two projects one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the Rest of Scotland. The first locations in the Highlands and Islands, in Inverness-shire and Moray, were announced in October 2013. Today's announcement includes the first locations to be named for upgrade as part of the Rest of Scotland project and further locations in the Highlands and Islands.
In total, more than three quarters of a million homes and business premises are expected to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative. Funding partners include the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT, the selected private sector partner who is rolling out the open access fibre network, is investing £126 million.
More locations will be announced quarterly for the life of the projects as the fibre network rolls out across Scotland. Further local detail will be provided as plans advance and anyone interested in the roll-out can keep up to date and get more detail at www.digitalscotland.org
The partnership programme is in addition to BT's £2.5b UK commercial rollout, which will bring faster fibre broadband within reach of more than 1.4 million Scottish homes and businesses by the end of spring 2014, with almost 900,000 premises already passed.
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: "Today is a major step forward in a journey that will transform the communications landscape of rural Scotland and help develop prosperous local economies.
"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."
The new fibre based network will be open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis. Households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: "The £100.8 million that the UK Government has provided to Digital Scotland will help take superfast broadband to some of the most remote locations in the country, who would otherwise be left in the digital slow lane. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to the Scottish economy."