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R100 FTTP Broadband Build in Scotland Hits 42,000 Premises

Monday, Nov 6th, 2023 (2:24 pm) - Score 1,480

The Scottish Government has published a small progress update on their £600m Reaching 100% (R100) project with Openreach (BT), which reveals that an additional 42,000 premises (up from 24,194 in late May 2023) have now been covered by their rollout of a new “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) capable ISP network.

At present around 96% of premises in Scotland already have access to such a network and a further 114,000 premises are planned to be covered across the three R100 contract LOTs by March 2028 (here and here). LOT 1 (North Scotland and the Highlands) is expected to cover 60,764 premises (100% via FTTP) by 2027/28, while LOT 2 (Central Scotland) will reach 32,216 premises (95.6% via FTTP and the rest FTTC) by 2023/24 and LOT 3 (Southern Scotland) targets 21,889 premises (100% via FTTP) by 2024/25.

NOTE: In Scotland the responsibility for broadband is reserved to Westminster, but that doesn’t stop local and devolved authorities from making their own investments (e.g. R100). Funding for R100 includes £592.2m of Scottish Government investment, £49.4m of UK Government (BDUK) investment and £54.1m from BT.

The latest figure represents a significant improvement on the previous updates, which had tended to display a much more gradual increase, although it’s worth noting that LOT 1 will be the hardest area to tackle due to the many challenges of the remote highlands.

In a related update, the Digital Scotland project has also reported that over 3,500 premises have used the R100 Broadband Voucher Scheme to help upgrade local connectivity and over 1,000 Openreach engineers are now working on R100 contracts. In addition, some 50% of premises in the South (LOR 3) R100 contract have now been delivered

Openreach are generally on track to lay 7 million metres of fibre optic cable in 23/24 – not to mention the 224km of subsea cables (pictured) that have been laid to connect 15 of Scotland’s remote islands.

R100 Progress to October 2023

More than 42,000 homes and business across Scotland, including Scotland’s highest village, Wanlockhead, are now able to benefit from faster broadband thanks to the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) programme.

Initially aiming to enable access to superfast broadband – speeds of at least 30Mbps – all of the planned R100 contract build in the North and South, and all remaining build in Central will now be gigabit capable, which is more than 30 times faster than the original commitment. Around 114,000 homes and businesses are currently expected to benefit from the R100 contracts.

Currently, over 1,000 engineers from Openreach and their build partners are delivering R100 connections, using over 7 million metres of cable so far in 2023.

Build is underway across large parts of rural Scotland, including Lismore, Yell, Fair Isle and the Shetland and Orkney mainlands. These islands are due to be some of the first to benefit from the R100 subsea cables deployed last year.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear how the UK government’s Project Gigabit funding for Scotland (aka – LOT 39) will be handled, although the first procurements should launch sometime later this year. Some 410,000 premises across Scotland may need support from public funding to help them gain access to a gigabit (1000Mbps) broadband service (here), which could rise if existing plans (inc. commercial builds) fall short.

Ofcom recently predicted (here) that Scotland’s full fibre coverage would reach around 78-83% by May 2026, while gigabit-capable broadband (FTTP and Hybrid Fibre Coax / cable) would deliver 83-85% by that same date.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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