90% of Scotland ‘has access to fibre broadband’

More than 750,000 Scottish homes and businesses can now connect to fibre broadband thanks to the £428 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, the Scottish Government said.

BT is investing £126 million in the programme.

More than 90% of Scotland now has access to fibre broadband thanks to the programme and commercial deployment, which is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver 100% superfast broadband access across Scotland by 2021.

The Digital Scotland programme is delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland.

Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.

The milestone was passed as Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing visited BRAG Enterprises in Lochgelly – a social enterprise benefitting from the arrival of fibre broadband in the town.

Ewing said: “The programme is reaching more communities than originally planned and will continue to do so in the coming months.

“However, local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

“I am of course aware that many homes and businesses do not yet have access.

“Under the further R100 contract, we will be proceeding with the next phase of our pledge to enable access to broadband for every home and business to Scotland within the lifetime of this Scottish Parliament.”

Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, said: “The Digital Scotland fibre rollout has continued to make good progress over the last six months, reaching places like Port Askaig and Crinan in Argyll and Bute, Benbecula in the Western Isles and Glencaple in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Thanks to engineering innovation, thousands of people on lines once thought to be incapable of carrying a superfast service are now able to upgrade to higher speeds.

“And with strong take-up rates set to drive the reinvestment of millions of pounds back into the network, we look forward to continuing work on this huge and challenging infrastructure project to benefit the people of Scotland.”