More money for rural broadband coverage

Engineers installing the new broadband.
Engineers installing the new broadband.

Dumfries and Galloway will see more superfast broadband coverage for homes and businesses thanks to the early success of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution Derek Mackay announced this week that strong take up figures mean that an additional £15.6m is being re-invested back into the programme.

lt means that many places, such as premises currently in very rural areas or those not benefitting from any uplift in speed, as well as ‘new build’ premises built between 2012 and 2014, will now be able to get superfast broadband thanks to the programme.

Work is already under way and will be complete by December 2018 – it will mean that 96.3% of Dumfries and Galloway will have access to fibre broadband including assumed commercial coverage by this time.

BT has already invested £126m on top of its commercial investments in Scotland.

Mr Mackay said: “Thanks to the success of the DSSB programme, I am delighted that more premises than originally planned in Dumfries and Galloway will now have the opportunity to benefit from reliable broadband.”

“We are already looking at how we reach further and ultimately ensure that we can get superfast speeds to all. This will include areas not yet reached, as well as those who are part of the network already but currently too far from the current cabinets to have achieved superfast speeds.”

The current programme will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of December 2017, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans. Today’s announcement means that more homes will benefit as well as achieve a superfast speed by December 2018 looking to take fibre coverage to over 97% in the rest of Scotland project area.

It underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020 and the commitment that 100% of premises will have access to superfast broadband by 2021.

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.”