The £800 million Countesswells Development, which involves the creation of a new town with 3,000 homes and various spaces for business / schools near to Aberdeen, has claimed that it will also be the “first community in Scotland” to provide residents with access to “hyperfast” 1Gbps broadband.
The Press and Journal reports that Stewart Milne Homes, which is the company behind the development, has signed an agreement with an unfamiliar ISP called Grain that will deploy or manage the service using Fibre Optic lines installed around the site (a couple of quick Google searches turned up nothing on this provider).
Jim Fitzsimons, CDL Project Director, said:
“Digital infrastructure nd broadband speeds are shockingly poor in this part of the world. Private, as well as public, sector investment is required to improve our digital connectivity.
As part of our vision to make Countesswells the most connected community in Scotland, we made the decision to install the best fibre network at the out-set. We’ve been able to install the fibre, along with the work on existing and new roads, which makes it relatively cost-effective.
The wider region can benefit from what we’ve already done, but rolling it out more widely will require support from the public sector.”
At this point things get a bit confusing because some of the earlier documentation from 2014 states that “BT have provided the option of full fibre connectivity,” although the developer also said they were considering the option of a “high speed open access network offering all homeowners market choice and 1Gb service.”
However, if BT (they no doubt mean Openreach) had been chosen then the Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP/H) network would be available via more ISPs than just Grain, which leads us to suspect that they opted for the latter. Grain will also be working with Sky to offer residents a TV service, which we’d assume involves a Fibre Integrated Reception System (FIRS) setup (i.e. a Satellite dish grabs the TV and distributes it over fibre).
Grain are also exploring the possibility of expanding their pure fibre network into nearby Kingswells (suburb of Aberdeen), albeit only once the new town’s network is complete. Meanwhile any talk about deploying the network across the whole city is probably academic right now as it would surely require a large investment.
Mind you we must not forget that Cityfibre’s FTTP for local businesses and public sector sites is already present in the city, which could potentially provide a springboard to residential coverage like in York. On top of that Openreach’s (BT) slower FTTC (VDSL2) service already covers the vast majority of the city, although this delivers much more variable speeds up to 80Mbps.