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Aberdeen Eyes Broadband Boost from GBP250 Million City Deal

Thursday, January 28th, 2016 (8:20 am) - Score 486
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The UK Government has today signed a new City Deal, which will pump up to £250 million into Aberdeen (Scotland). Most of the investment will go towards propping up the city’s gas and oil industry, as well as expanding its harbour, although some will be used to further boost digital connectivity.

The exact details of how Aberdeen’s digital connectivity will be improved are not yet known, although the original plan said, “Major investment in digital infrastructure is required in the Aberdeen area to improve connectivity which can enable an acceleration in economic growth, stimulate innovation and retain and create employment in the region.”

Government Statement

The agreement will be Scotland’s second UK City Deal, following Glasgow’s arrangement agreed in 2014, and will again see equal funding committed by the UK and Scottish Governments.

The City Deal will address a number of proposals from the region including a new energy innovation centre, supporting the industry to exploit remaining North Sea reserves, as well towards the expansion of Aberdeen harbour, enabling the city to compete for decommissioning work.

The City Deal also sets out how the region will diversify the biopharmaceutical and agri-food industries, diversifying the area’s economy and creating new jobs and export opportunities, as well as commitments to improve digital connectivity across the area.

At present around 90% of Aberdeen should already be able to access a superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connection, albeit more via BT’s hybrid-fibre FTTC (VDSL2) network than Virgin Media’s faster cable infrastructure because the latter has almost no presence in the city.

On top of that Cityfibre has of course been busy expanding their 1000Mbps capable fibre optic broadband (FTTP) network in the area (Aberdeen Core), although that infrastructure is primarily focused upon connecting businesses and public sector sites.

However there’s clearly still a fair gap left to fill and that’s where some of the funding could help.

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Mark Jackson
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.
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9 Responses
  1. Many of the SME’s, or sole traders, or homeworkers who would benefit the most from even getting 24Mbps reside in Shire, it would be nice to see some of the rollout coming to the Shire and not all the resources and funding being swallowed up by Aberdeen City. Currently we have no fibre what so ever. Currently 2.28M/bs is about our lot, and the upload speed; essential for my business is even slower. This is hardly fit for purpose and is making it increasingly difficult to run a competitive business in rural Aberdeenshire.

    • Avatar Stephen

      I agree Donna, it would be nice to see some funding coming to the shire where it is needed most. I have heard that there is a possibility of FTTRN or G.Fast being used to help rural users (not sure if the 2nd option will ever be used outside urban areas though) but there are some real funding issues. So the technology is there but the money is not.This is surely a great opportunity to tackle the long E/O lines.
      I run a photography business in a rural location & it is painfully slow to get anything done on sub 2MB/S speeds so I can sympathise with you.

  2. Avatar Oggy

    “Virgin Media’s faster cable infrastructure because the latter has almost no presence in the city”.

    Do Virgin have a presence in the city at all? They certainly don’t offer any residential services in Aberdeen on a network of their own. Are they just offering business services?

    Donna is right though, Aberdeenshire could do with improvements. It is okay if you live in the likes of Chapelton where FTTP is available but there are places with slow speeds.

  3. Aberdeenshire’s broadband has come on a great deal over the past year or so, at least if you live in a built-up area – I signed up for an 80/20 connection in Banchory a year ago, and get pretty much that – a great improvement on before. The more rural areas and exchange only lines are where things fall down, as usual – hopefully more will be done to improve this.

  4. Avatar Craski

    Aberdeenshire is currently only around 60% superfast, there are still loads of areas within 30 miles of Aberdeen city struggling on ~2Mb ADSL connections. Aberdeenshire also currently has lower targets under BDUK through to end of 2017 than almost every other region in the UK.

  5. Current download speed 0.88Mbps , upload speed 0.17Mbps. Hardly fit for purpose. Rural schools also disadvantaged as connections aren’t reliable.

    • Avatar Craski

      @Donna
      Ironically, rural Aberdeenshire schools are not disadvantaged at all as Aberdeenshire Council has every school and library and council building in the shire connected to the internet using a wireless network called the Hilltop broadband project which has been running for a few years now. They dont like to talk about it …

      Its a shame they cant expand on that to improve access to all those in areas suffering with less than 2Mb which are being offered nothing more than a useless satellite subsidy voucher.

  6. Avatar Donna

    How does the hill top project work ? Is it satellite?

    • Avatar craski

      No.
      They have a leased line in Aberdeen which is relayed to various mast throughout Aberdeenshire using fixed wireless and from the masts they use fixed wireless to get to council buildings (schools, libraries etc). It’s actually a really good setup with coverage over most of Aberdeenshire.

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