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Brief Progress Update on Scotland’s R100 Fibre Broadband Rollout

Friday, July 1st, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 1,728
Audit Scotland Map R100 Contract LOTs

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Kate Forbes, has issued a brief progress update on their £600m Reaching 100% (R100) project with BT (Openreach), which is busy extending fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage – the vast majority of which is coming via FTTP – across rural parts of the country.

Just to recap. The R100 programme is split between three contracts (LOTS) and focused on extending 30Mbps+ capable connectivity across as many of the final c.5% of poorly served premises in Scotland as possible. LOT 1 (North Scotland and the Highlands) is expected to cover a further 59,276 premises (100% via FTTP), while LOT 2 (Central Scotland) will reach 32,216 premises (95.6% via FTTP and the rest FTTC) and LOT 3 (Southern Scotland) will reach 20,740 premises (100% via FTTP).

NOTE: The average cost to connect premises under R100 was recently revealed to be £5,690 by Audit Scotland (here).

Overall, around 112,000 premises are now expected to be covered through the three R100 contracts by 2026/27 – this largely reflects the delayed completion of LOT 1 following Gigaclear’s earlier legal challenge (i.e. LOT 2/3 are due to finish much sooner, around 2023/24).

The latest data released by Kate Forbes this week reveals that Openreach and gigabit vouchers have so far completed the coverage for “more than9,800 premises, which is up from 5,900 in Feb 2022 and 5,300 in Dec 2021. “We have, right now, a further 9,500 connections in-build, on top of the 9,800 connections that have already been delivered,” added Forbes. But sadly, that’s all the detail we got.

However, Forbes did make one final and interesting point, which was in response to a question about how the Scottish Government will reach the remote rural areas that won’t benefit from R100.

Kate Forbes said:

“I continue to engage with Openreach, in particular, to see whether we can push the build even further and faster than is currently proposed. Again, understanding the importance of not just starting the job on some of our islands but completing it, I am also engaged with the UK Government to ensure that project gigabit funding helps to complete the job on our islands.

Of course, one of the big challenges is the UK Government’s arbitrary cap of £7,000 for reaching rural properties. In other words, if it is going to cost more than £7,000 to connect a property, the UK Government cannot help through project gigabit. However, we will try to ensure that all the jigsaw pieces of funding and support reach our islands and that we finish the job.”

At the time of writing, we are still waiting to hear how Project Gigabit’s funding for Scotland will be handled (aka – Lot 39). But the Building Digital UK (DCMS) programme has already determined that the final 0.3% of the UK (i.e. under 100,000 premises) may be too expensive for even Project Gigabit to reach (the proportional % will no doubt be higher in Scotland). A range of alternative proposals for this are currently still being consulting upon (here).

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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
8 Responses
  1. John H says:

    Our area has had 3 target dates, all missed including one for end Jun 2022, waiting to see what the fourth date is. Oct 2023 probably as that is the only date SNP are focussed on.

    1. Skinny Legs says:

      So it’s SNP who are building the network then?

  2. John H says:

    A new superfast connection is being built in your area. It’s part of the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) superfast broadband programme.

    Based on the current engineering schedule your address is in scope to receive its superfast connection by the end of June 2022.

    See it says Scot Gov, Scot Gov as the contract holder has a responsibility to ensure the contract is being met. They picked the contractor, if I pick a builder for an extension I include target dates and kick up a fuss if they start falling behind.

    1. Oh Vey! says:

      SNP don’t have total control on the timescales – its in the hands of Openreach. Building a FTTP network is considerably more complex and with a lot more unknowns than building an extension or conservatory. People like you moaning was exactly the reason why Openreach stopped issuing firm timescales in the past as often they weren’t met. Just accept that it will happen one day.

  3. Gary H says:

    Pretty typical for Kate to push focus onto the Islands, So we’re not supposed to start a job there and not finish it, but if you’re on the mainland it’s ok. The Islands should be subject to the same cost limitations as everyone else under the R100 scheme, How much of the £7000 per connection was eaten already by deploying the Subsea cables?
    If the Gov wish to specifically allocate extra for the islands that’s a different matter.

  4. Ian says:

    2 miles outside Elgin, 800 m from fibre, sub 5 Mbps. Just being missed out, too many broken promises SG!!

  5. Gary Mackenzie says:

    If openreach don’t want to upgrade cables there is nothing that scotgov or a customer appear to have available to force them to.
    They knew what they were bidding on, after all it is all their cabling.

  6. R Gunn says:

    I live rural in lot 1 (Caithness) and what I don’t understand is how it’s being delivered, the houses all on the side of the road I live on aren’t in scope for FTTP at all only offering vouchers whereas the opposite side has all had FTTP fitted no problem. Apart from the fact that it’s on the other side of the road, I can’t work out what’s stopping our side and why they wouldn’t do it all at once, applied for the voucher 2 years ago and got a 4G Router and a shoddy antenna which doesn’t work anymore… Probably charged the government like 2-3k for it also given how far they traveled… None of it works anymore either as of a month ago so back to 2010 speeds for me with 1mbps upload 🙁

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