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Aberdeen Preps Fibre Upgrades and Free City Centre WiFi by End of 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 (8:57 am) - Score 1,139
aberdeen city broadband

Earlier this year the city of Aberdeen in Scotland signed a major £250m City Deal with the Government (here) and we’re now starting to get the first details on what this could mean for digital connectivity, with free city centre wifi and fibre optic upgrades being high on the agenda.

The original announcement pledged to deliver, among other things, a “major investment in digital infrastructure” and the latest update states that the local authority has set aside around £300,000 from the council budget to focus on areas like laying new underground fibre optic cables or supporting the build of free city centre WiFi.

However £300k won’t get the council very far and thus another £20m will also be extracted from the new City Deal, which it’s hoped could then be more than matched by £30m from the private sector. As usual there’s still a lack of detail about precisely what the funding will do.

Simon Haston, Aberdeen Council’s Head of IT, said (Press and Journal):

“We have already begun to upgrade the council network which is a six-year programme. Within the year, we will have upgraded the council’s network which could attract private sector investment of potentially £30million over the next six years.

The city centre wireless we’re looking at is what is called a full concession. That’s where the private sector pay for the infrastructure and get their returns through advertising or footfall.”

Apparently the free city centre WiFi network should be ready by around the end of 2016 and it could then be extended outwards to additional areas. Otherwise most of the funding seems to be focused upon upgrading the council’s own public network connectivity and this may later be followed by improvements to local business connectivity.

At this point we should add that Cityfibre is still busy expanding their 1Gbps capable fibre optic broadband (FTTP) network in the area (Aberdeen Core). Elsewhere around 90% of premises in Aberdeen should already be able to access a superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connection, albeit mostly via BT’s hybrid-fibre FTTC (VDSL2) network (Virgin Media’s faster cable infrastructure has almost no presence in the city).

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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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10 Responses
  1. Avatar Stephen

    Good news for Aberdeen. I see that a site outside Union Square has been approved, hopefully this will be the first of many.

  2. Avatar alusufferer

    most days i check here hoping of news of fibre upgrades in Aberdeen but with this announcement i don’t think they’ve much intent on helping some of the struggling communities.
    i’ll keep dreaming for the headline that the council have partnered with city fibre to provide something really special to the city

    • Avatar Stephen

      Me too!!!
      I’ve asked Cityfibre if they would consider doing small rural communities but they don’t reply to me. They have done some non business rollouts in England so I thought it was worth at least asking.
      I have been told by BT that we should consider community funding to help replace our very long exchange only lines with fibre.
      Our options don’t look good. Maybe we need to move to the Shetland Islands to get a decent service, they have both fibre and 4G!!!!!

    • Avatar alusufferer

      i know people who live in the mearns and gets 20mb+ through point-to-point wifi from a local isp Marykirk.com, maybe they could do something similar?

      i was considering asking cityfibre if they would be interested in rolling out to Cove (theyve fibre right at the entrance) if there was an decent level of interest and then take it from there but i know they are totally business focused so thought i wouldnt get much from them.

      Cove is terrible at the moment even with FTTC, speeds drop so quickly and disconnect constantly after rain. Openreach must make a fare share of their quota of calls just from a few streets here

    • Avatar Stephen

      Rain has started affecting my line too. Trying to get the right person at BT who can help is a nightmare though. My whopping 1.7/.03 speeds drop to 0.3it takes about 2 mintes to watch the 5 second adverts on Youtube!!!! What I wouldn’t give for fibre.
      Hows the 4G in Cove? It looks like it is rolling out there.

    • Avatar Oggy

      On the 3 network in Cove I’ve done a speedtest and gotten 45Mb download and 9.5Mb upload.

    • Avatar Stephen

      Hi Oggy

      That’s pretty good, do you get that indoors too?
      I work in Westhill & Three have just launched 4G here today! Speeds are similar to yours, I added a few tests to the Rootmetrics website.

    • Avatar Oggy

      Hey Stephen, I was in the Langsdyke pub when I did the test.

      I live in Portlethen where I get considerably slower speeds than that with 3. 🙁

  3. Avatar Kahajoin

    I live in the city centre

    and have ABERDEENCORE presence beside me

    they want £500 p/m for 1GB/s and thats not counting construction charges

    Also quick correction

    Virgin has 0% of its cable in aberdeen

    their network only expands to dundee as aberdeen at one time had its own cable network that went belly up.

  4. Avatar Kahajoin

    Sorry i meant 1Gbps

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