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Scotland Reveals Next 40 Communities for “Fibre Broadband” Upgrades

Monday, October 26th, 2015 (4:28 pm) - Score 2,970

The Digital Scotland scheme, which is working alongside BT to roll-out “high-speed fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) networks to 85% of premises in Scotland by the end of 2015/16 and 95% by the end of March 2018, has today named the next 40 communities (20,000 premises) to benefit.

So far the current project has helped to put the faster connectivity within reach of an additional 455,000 homes and businesses across the country and by completion it should have helped to cover a total of 750,000. A future contract may also add to this.

Meanwhile the first connections in today’s latest batch of upgrades should start to go live during Spring 2016.

John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, said:

We are now into the second year of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme and progress continues apace. The roll-out of high-speed broadband has now reached 455,000 homes and business, with on average 7,000 more able to connect each week. Many of these were once thought to be out of reach because they’re linked directly to telephone exchanges, or are located in more rural locations.

Areas going to benefit from access to high speed broadband for the first time in the coming months include towns like Linlithgow and smaller villages such as Bridge of Dun. The Scottish Government is committed to delivering first-rate connectivity in Scotland by 2020, ensuring we are a world class digital nation.”

As usual we have pasted a tentative (subject to change) list of all the newly planned upgrades below. Many of the areas are new (listed first), although quite a few are also infill (i.e. extending FTTC/P coverage in areas that have already been partially upgraded) and we mark these in a separate table below.

Digital Scotland’s Current Funding

HIE – The Highlands and Islands (£145.8m):
• £126.4m from public bodies (Scottish Government, Department for Culture, Media and Sport [BDUK], Highland and Islands Enterprise and all seven local authorities that form part of the project area)
• £19.4m from BT.

RES – The Rest of Scotland (£264m):
• £157 million from public sources (Scottish Government, ERDF, Department for Culture, Media and Sport [BDUK], and all 27 local authorities that form part of the Rest of Scotland Project area)
• £106.7 from BT.

It’s also worth pointing out that additional public funding has been made available from the central Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme and through Clawback from BT (here), although Scotland has yet to announce a related Phase 2 contract.

New Areas

Area Local Authority
Cairnie Aberdeenshire
Muir Of Fowlis Aberdeenshire
Auchterhouse Angus
Bridge Of Dun Angus
Cortachy Angus
Finavon Angus
Muckhart Clackmannanshire
Tillicoultry Clackmannanshire
Canonbie Dumfries and Galloway
Glenluce Dumfries and Galloway
New Luce Dumfries and Galloway
Parkgate Dumfries and Galloway
Moscow East Ayrshire
Uplawmoor East Ayrshire
Dirleton East Lothian
Langbank Inverclyde
Temple Midlothian
Fairlie North Ayrshire
Torranyard North Ayrshire
West Kilbride North Ayrshire
Greengairs North Lanarkshire
Kinrossie Perth and Kinross
Oxton Scottish Borders
Reston Scottish Borders
Roxburgh Scottish Borders
Stichill Scottish Borders
Westruther Scottish Borders
Whitsome Scottish Borders
Broughton Scottish Borders
Skirling Scottish Borders
Kirkoswald South Ayrshire
Turnberry South Ayrshire
Aberfoyle Stirling
Tyndrum Stirling
Linlithgow West Lothian
Philpstoun West Lothian
West Calder West Lothian
Winchburgh West Lothian

Infill (Extensions)

Area Local Authority
ALVA Clackmannanshire
MIDCALDER West Lothian
CUMBERNAULD North Lanarkshire

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
20 Responses
  1. Craski says:

    I doubt Digital Scotland/BDUK will ever publish a plan beyond the “next bunch of communities”

    I’m personally so fed up waiting on those #ExploringSolutions that I’m currently planning to install a 6km link to a property within 100m of one of the FTTC cabs that I am too far away from … all going to plan, the other pissed off locals will jump onboard and a WISP will be born. I’m really looking forward to cancelling my 2Mbps broadband and my BT phone line too 🙂

    1. Stephen says:

      Me too Craski, I don’t think I’ll ever get fibre over 11km. I’m tempted to climb the bloomin telegraph poles myself & put the fibre up for them!!! it might take me a year or 2 but it’d still be quicker than waiting for the rollout!!

    2. Craski says:

      A lot of the phone lines around my area between the telegraph poles are simply thrown onto the grass verge along the road and not even dug in at all. Poles are only used to provide last drop to premises across roads etc. I did suggest to local council / Digital Scotland that I (with help of a few mates) would easily be up for “throwing” a new fibre cable onto the grass verge but they didnt take me up on the offer 🙂

    3. Robert says:

      The latest information surrounding deployment is held on the Digital Scotland website, and homes and businesses can register to be kept updated on progress in their areas. – go to http://www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen
      You can also raise a query direct on the website if you wish too.

      For areas not set to be covered or shown as Exploring Solutions on the maps, communities can engage with Community Broadband Scotland to see if a solution can be identified, or indeed you can contact BT direct via the new community fibre partnership page, to determine the cost of a fibre solution to your community in the event private funding can be utilise

    4. Craski says:

      It sounds like you work for Digital Scotland?
      I’m sure I wont be alone in having done most of what you suggest (for my own area).

      Being kept upto date through registering on the DS website doesnt work. e.g. The line length from our serving cabinet to our postcode is >6km for every house in the postcode. The line checker says that 1 of the properties in my postcode can get 80/20 full speed FTTC and that must have triggered the notifications that “High Speed Fibre Broadband is now available in your area” notifications. It isnt and the guy along the road from me cant get 80/20. I tried to get it corrected, nobody (BT, open reach, local council or Digital Scotland) cares.

      I contacted Digital Scotland direct and got told “We might reach you but current indications are that it wont be with fibre”. When I asked for clarity on that as in does that mean best I can expect is a satellite installation voucher, no further response received.

      I’ve engaged with Community Broadband Scotland. At first that was positive, now less so. It seems they either dont want to help us because we are zoned on the plan or they lack resources. Not sure which but either way, they wont tell us anything.

      Trying to get any useful information out of BT or Openreach is even worse, they simply are not interested and pass you from one dept to the other just to get rid of you.

      BDUK planning visibility is rubbish, all we ever get is “here is the next few lucky areas”. I appreciate its a big project and things evolve but I’m sure I’m not alone in being sick of being kept in the dark. If the best our area can expect is a crappy satellite voucher then just tell us so we can move on and invest in alternatives ourselves.

    5. Craski says:

      Actually, its not fair for me to say that “BDUK planning visibility is rubbish”, its Digital Scotland planning visibility that is rubbish.

  2. chris says:

    Thanks for putting ‘Fibre Broadband’ into quote marks, as we all know, it isn’t fibre broadband unless its fibre to the home. I wonder why folk think you can get it down antiquated phone lines? Bit of a con trick finally coming home to roost. The light is starting to dawn on those who can never get superfast and many will start to support altnets. The key is competition. More altnets, the more openreach will invest to knock them out. Openreach will carry on making folk stay on FTTC until someone else steps up to the bar and stops them sweating these obsolete assets.

    1. PeterM says:

      The trouble is that the altnets are going to need public money to give them a kick start. They may not need much and most of their capital spend will be their own.
      It is going to take a good deal of courage to enter the rather chaotic broadband market. Its not that there isn’t demand its simply a question of technological changes and development, regulations and politics.
      FTTC has been a good way of getting faster broadband out to most of the country but this will be as good as it gets for most of us. GFast and /or FTTP will certainly benefit urban Britain but it will never arrive in rural areas. Our exchange, with 2,000 lines would probably cost about the same to convert to GFast as 10 exchange areas have for FTTC. To covert it to FTTP would probably double the cost again.

    2. TheFacts says:

      No con trick, definition well understood.

      What’s typical cost of one FTTC cabinet for 300 premises compared with FTTP along roads and pavements?

    3. DTMark says:

      Well, looking at the cost to the taxpayer and thinking about B4RN’s deployments, it appears that VDSL is far more expensive and delivers comparatively little.

    4. TheFacts says:

      More expensive at commercial rates? Can’t be.

    5. MikeW says:

      I think @dtmark is obfuscating things a little, trying to compare ‘taxpayer costs’ with B4RN – a purely commercial operation, with no taxpayer involvment.

      Total cost, however, is a different matter entirely.

      B4RN has invested something like £1,000 per home, although it is hard to judge the value of the volunteer workforce, and the ultimate value of free wayleaves – things only available to community/charity projects. Most of the investment has come from locals willing (nay, eager) to invest that kind of sum up-front.

      BT’s investment, for the commercial portion, amounts to around one tenth of that per home. Because almost none of its customers want to hand over hundreds of pounds in advance, never mind the thousands needed.

      BDUK phase 1, with £1.2bn of public subsidy, will cover 4.2million premises – around £285 per home. Total cost may be £1.7bn, or £400 per home.

      So FTTC indeed only gives a fraction of the capability of a full fibre solution. But it only costs a fraction of that full fibre solution too. Importantly, that fraction of the cost appears to match how much most people are willing to pay, and gives a capability that more closely matches their needs.

      For me, the fact that coverage can reach 90% of the country in 5 years instead of the 20 years of FTTH is a massive point in FTTC’s favour. With FTTH, you might have future-proofed a quarter of the country in that time, but you’ve left three-quarters to fester … and I’m not sure that is preferable.

    6. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “What’s typical cost of one FTTC cabinet for 300 premises compared with FTTP along roads and pavements?”

      You already know the answer to this. If not, ask ‘NGA for all’, he has some good estimates.

    7. FibreFred says:

      I’ve yet to find one person that agrees with ngas figures so… I will hold off on that one

  3. Seriously, when the amount of new high speed, highly reliable wireless products that are coming to market is growing, we are still throwing public money at digging trenches.

    1. MikeW says:

      Wireless: brilliant at offering widespread coverage, or high capacity, but not both at the same time. The limitations in spectrum are an important consideration.

      Wireless is a fine, capable solutions for widespread communities in the 95th percentile+. But for them to experience high quality capacity, the first 95% need to be wired. Perhaps even via a recently-dug trench.

      The wireless stuff eventually needs a backhaul trunk. With the same spectrum limitations, wired backhaul becomes key.

  4. Rob Lowe says:

    I cannot understand why new build investment doesn’t make fibre from day one mandatory if the exchange has the equipment. I have been waiting for 4 years for fibre in Falkirk… Still no definitive statement on when or if we will get it.

    Like some of the folks here, I’m 100m from existing fibre. I’m seriously considering investing in a wireless bridge to enable us to join the digital age. I run a business from home… this is affecting my business but still OpenReach won’t talk.

    1. Craski says:

      Similar situation to me Rob but I’m just a bit further from the nearest fibre. After considering lots of options and doing lots of research I’ve located a premises near a cabinet and have come to an agreement with them for me to install a second line and mount an ubiquiti dish to beam that ~6km to me. All going to plan I’m hoping to be up and running in a few weeks time.

    2. MikeW says:

      Agree 100% – time that new build was this way.

      Best way is for prospective buyers to ask the developer, then walk away if FTTP is not on offer. Best way for the rest of us is to act like a prospective buyer, visit a site, ask, and walk away. They don’t know you aren’t really a buyer, right?

      Best way for owners of new builds who forgot to ask … publicise the lack of broadband to prospective buyers, so they walk away. Developers are led by money…

      The current state is that Openreach – if chosen by the developer – require facilities for fibre for FTTP, but aren’t forced to provide the actual fibre. The developer could choose not to engage Openreach.

      Unfortunately, the new builds of today could have been through the planning process years ago.

      Smart idea… Fingers crossed

  5. fastman says:

    there are still developers only asking for copper !!!!

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