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Rural areas to benefit from extension of Scottish fibre broadband rollout

Tuesday, March 21st 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The rollout of superfast broadband in Scotland is set to reach more rural areas thanks to a £15m boost.

Stronger than expected take-up of fibre services has seen £15.6m reinvested back into the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project.

Scottish finance secretary Derek Mackay said the extended rollout programme will target very rural areas as well as new-build homes constructed between 2012 and 2014.

Parts of Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Perth and Kinross, Scottish Borders and Stirling are set to benefit.

“I am delighted that thanks to the higher than expected uptake of our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme more premises than originally planned will now have the opportunity to benefit from investment in reliable and speedy broadband services,” said Mr Mackay.

“The increase in broadband access shows clearly the difference this government is making to people, communities and businesses, supporting jobs and livelihoods in the north east of Scotland.

“Work is already underway and by December 2018 every local authority across the project area will enjoy at least 85% superfast broadband coverage with users able to experience speeds of above 24Mbps as part of our commitment to deliver 100% superfast broadband by 2020.”

Progress is being made in rural areas – the Aberdeenshire village of Inverugie was connected earlier this month, making fibre available to 79 premises.

'New solutions'

Superfast coverage across the city of Aberdeen is now up to 94.9% when the efforts of the Digital Scotland programme are combined with commercial deployments.

Mr Mackay added: ““We are already looking at how we reach further and ultimately ensure we get superfast speeds to all.

“This will include extending the programme to new areas, as well as identifying new solutions for parts of the network that are currently unable to access superfast speeds.”

Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland’s fibre broadband director, said: “We are proud of the Digital Scotland rollout – a massive infrastructure project that’s being delivered on time and on budget and provides a vital digital network for Scotland for generations to come.

“It’s built in to the contract that strong take-up levels trigger the release of funds for reinvestment back into the network, and BT has chosen to release these funds early so we can go further.”

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