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Digital Scotland Broadband

Digital Scotland Broadband

Welcome to the final edition of Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband’s ‘In the Loop’

First published 
Jul 23, 2020
First published 
Jul 23, 2020

Welcome to the final edition of Digital Scotland  Superfast Broadband’s ‘In the Loop’

The World, and Scotland within  it, has changed dramatically since the first DSSB enabled cabinet went live  in April of 2014 and I am proud that the £463 million DSSB programme has  achieved and gone on to exceed its aim of delivering 95% fibre broadband coverage  for Scotland. The programme’s deployment has helped many people be able to  work and stay in touch during this difficult time, and, of course, we will  not rest at that 95% figure.

Superfast access has increased  dramatically from 63% to 94%, or an increase of 31 percentage points over the  period, with transformational growth since January 2014 of more than 60% in  the proportion of premises with superfast access in Aberdeenshire, Argyll and  Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Highland, Moray, Na h-Eileanan an  Iar and Scottish Borders, with several other areas of rural and island  Scotland seeing more than a 40% increase.*

From the very outset it was  recognised that extending superfast broadband across Scotland was about so  much more than simply supporting economic growth. It’s been about overcoming  the clear imperfections of the UK-wide telecommunications market, for sure,  but also about enhancing the quality of life for everyone in Scotland,  creating and retaining jobs locally, reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint and  improving access to health and education.

The programme has deployed as far  North as the Shetland Islands and as far South as Drummore in the Rhins of  Galloway. Over 15,000km of fibre cable has been laid across Scotland in the  process, with almost 950,000 homes and businesses now able to connect to  fibre broadband that would not have been able to in the absence of the DSSB  programme– almost 150,000 more than was at first envisaged with the available  funding - with an astonishing 63.75% of people within the ‘Rest of Scotland’  project area having so far taken up the opportunity to upgrade to faster  broadband speeds, which is more than double than anticipated at the outset.

Even before we had to deal with  the restrictions bought about by Covid-19, more people were already relying  on broadband as part of their day-to-day lives and, of course, digital  technology is also helping avoid unnecessary commuting as we address the  climate emergency.

That is why for those of you  unable to access broadband, our £600 million Reaching 100% (R100) programme will ensure that everyone who  wants to can get access to superfast speeds by the end of December 2021,  either directly through our R100 contracts, or through our new Scottish  broadband voucher scheme which we will launch this summer. Watch out for our  new online checker, published at premises level, that we will launch in the  near future to ensure you can see progress for your own household or business  under R100.

DSSB has been transformational  and I am proud of the leadership the Scottish Government provided to enable  it. However, it succeeded because of the strong partnership approach and I  want to thank each and every person who played their part in that. We now  have a strong foundation on which to build our future connectivity through R100  as we seek to ensure that all have access to services at superfast speeds or  better. 

 Best regards,
 Paul Wheelhouse MSP Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the  Islands



The future is R100

The Reaching 100% (R100) programme builds on the success of the  DSSB programme.  The 100% superfast broadband commitment will be met as  a result of three strands of activity – the R100 contracts, a superfast  broadband voucher scheme and commercial coverage.

The national demand-led broadband  voucher scheme will be launching later this year. This will provide grants to  broadband customers in non-domestic and domestic premises, offering support  to access a range of technologies and suppliers. Anyone not able to access  superfast broadband by the end of 2021 – even if build through the R100  contracts will ultimately reach them – will also be eligible for that voucher  scheme.