New Scots broadband hits 1m premises in £1bn push

More than one million faster broadband connections have been delivered to homes and businesses across Scotland amid £1 billion of publicly-driven investment, the Scottish Government said.

The £463 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme launched in 2014 and connected more than 950,600 premises to fibre-based broadband – over 150,000 more than originally anticipated.

The build was completed in 2020, with independent analysis showing that the programme is delivering £12 of benefits to the economy for every £1 of public funding.

The £600 million Reaching 100% (R100) programme, one of the most ambitious and complex digital infrastructure programmes in Europe, is now rolling out connections in some of the country’s most challenging rural locations, the Scottish Government said.

Originally conceived as a superfast broadband programme, R100 is now providing a gigabit-capable connection — a speed more than 30 times faster than superfast broadband — in around 99% of cases.

Building to some of the hardest-to-reach parts of Scotland, 48,000 connections have so far been delivered through the R100 contracts, with a further 3,800 connections provided through the R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Economy Secretary Mairi McAllan said: “Fast and reliable broadband has never been so important: it is an increasingly vital tool for everything from work and leisure, healthcare and education …

“This is precisely why the Scottish Government has prioritised investment in digital connectivity in the 2024-25 Budget.

“Indeed, despite telecoms being reserved, we have now committed to investing more than £650 million across the DSSB and R100 programmes, recognising that faster broadband is a key building block for a green and growing economy.

“Enabling more than one million connections to faster broadband is a landmark achievement in delivering this vision, and we are fully committed to ensuring as many people as possible can benefit from the advantages of future-proofed digital infrastructure to run businesses and services across the country.”

Fraser Rowberry, chief engineer for lead delivery partner Openreach Scotland, said: “Scotland’s digital journey is a story of resilience and progress.

“From adapting to remote work and learning during the pandemic to expanding ultrafast internet access, we’ve come a long way …

“Change on this scale, reaching even the most rural areas, is a testament to teamwork and determination. Let’s celebrate our achievements as we keep reaching for better connectivity across Scotland.”

UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “It’s fantastic to see that so many will benefit from the one million connections we’ve worked with the Scottish Government to fund and deliver. All these communities, who were previously stuck with snail’s pace internet, now have the speeds available to stream, work and play.

“In addition to the rollout of Superfast connections, we now want to ensure Scottish communities have the connectivity they need for the decades to come.

“This is why we are planning further investment in contracts to bring much faster full fibre broadband to hard-to-reach premises right across Scotland – futureproofing rural communities by empowering homes and businesses to seize the benefits of digital technology.”