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Scotland’s R100 Broadband Delay Hits Inverness City-Region Deal

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 (11:06 am) - Score 795
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The on-going delay to the Scottish Government’s proposed £600m Reaching 100% (R100) project, which originally aimed to cover the whole of Scotland with 30Mbps+ “superfast broadband” by the end of 2021, has now stalled the digital element of the proposed Inverness and Highland City-Region deal.

At present around 94% (average) of premises across Scotland can order a fixed line superfast broadband ISP service, although tackling the final 5-6% is no easy task and that isn’t helped by the fact that their follow-on R100 project has suffered significant delays in its effort to appoint suppliers (see here and here for more details).

Unfortunately this delay is now having a knock-on impact for other related schemes, such as the proposed Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is said to reflect a commitment to invest £315 million (£135m from the Scottish Government, £127m from The Highland Council / partners and another £53m from the UK Government).

The digital component of that deal proposed to establish a new Joint Digital Highland Action Plan, which would be supported by £20m from the UK Government and £10m from the Highland Council (total of £30m) to help “extend digital broadband and mobile coverage across [the Highlands] to areas not included in existing rollout plans.” The problem is that they can’t plan for that without knowing the R100 plan first.

John Robertson, City-Region Deal Manager, said (Inverness Courier):

“Without that knowledge we would be planning in the dark, our plans at best would need to be redone and at worst duplication or a waste of effort – we really need that reconnaissance, that information before we do the planning round our city-region deal money.

We are waiting for the decision, and it is a government decision, so until we know who the supplier is and what they are going to deliver and how they are going to deliver it we need to wait.”

At present the Scottish Government has provided an extension for the city region deal and said they would aim to appoint a preferred bidder or bidders by the end of September 2019, with a final contract expected to then be signed by the end of this year (being politics they might also mean the end of this financial year, which would be March 2020).

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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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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Gary

    No surprise here. R100 with no real information on what tech and where, UK USO similar, Some movement from OR regarding fibre first in Scottish cities.

    And on the TV this morning , more tripe from Politicians about the UK aim to be a global leader in digital communication. World leaders in ‘Hot Air’

  2. Avatar Brian

    Its been the story all along, lots of promises and no information. Generally the lack of information is worse than the lack of progress in actually delivering the promised upgrades, if you knew for certain that promises made 10 years ago were empty, there would have been so much more scope groups of people to do more for themselves

  3. Avatar Sheltie

    Where is Shetland on your map !

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