Digital Scotland – Reaching 100% programme: public consultation report (revised)

Revised Scottish Government responses to the consultation into the eligible intervention area for investment of public funds into Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure.

4. Revised Intervention Area

As a result of the Public Consultation and subsequent supplier data changes, the Scottish Government has revised the NGA broadband map (the basic broadband map remains unchanged, but is included for completeness). In the absence of premise level data from some broadband infrastructure operators, the Scottish Government has mapped areas as white, grey or black at a postcode level, using the following criteria:

For basic broadband (see Appendix B),

  • A postcode is turned grey if there is only one broadband infrastructure operator providing basic broadband services (with speeds greater than 2 Mbps) to that postcode
  • A postcode is turned black if there are at least two broadband infrastructure operators providing basic broadband services (with speeds greater than 2Mbps) to that postcode
  • All other postcodes remain white.

For NGA (see Appendix C),

  • A postcode is turned grey if there is only one broadband infrastructure operator providing NGA services (with speeds greater than 30Mbps) to that entire postcode
  • A postcode is turned black if there are at least two broadband infrastructure operators providing NGA services (with speeds greater than 30Mbps) to that entire postcode
  • All other postcodes remain white.

In addition, the intervention area includes a number of "Grey, under review" areas (coloured blue on the map). These areas have been indicated to have planned commercial coverage for NGA broadband (i.e. mapped as grey), but those plans have been reported through the process as being 'at risk' (or have otherwise been deemed by the Scottish Government as being 'at risk') of not being completed. These areas will be subject to continued monitoring and verification of supplier plans within the proposed delivery period by the Scottish Government and in the event that these commercial plans fall away, these premises will be reclassified as White NGA and form part of the proposed intervention area and therefore eligible for intervention via this aid measure.[4]

A combination of the ongoing monitoring process and identified data errors from suppliers has resulted in a material change to the Interventions Area since the publication of the previous report. This report identifies the revised figures and associated maps due to those changes. Previous figures can be found in the original Digital Scotland – Reaching 100% Programme: public consultation report[5].

The mapping analysis of existing and evidenced planned coverage (within the next 3 years) has identified significant remaining 'white NGA' areas. The outcome of the Public Consultation is summarised in terms of NGA White, Grey, Black and 'Grey, Under Review' premises below and in reference to postcode mapping as described above:

Number of Postcodes Number of Black Premises Number of Grey Premises Number of White Premises Number of Grey, Under Review Premises
White 29,325* 13,270 138,813 202,502 29,580
Grey 86,119 355,472 1,309,260 0 0
Black 29,173 569,345 0 0 0
'Grey, Under Review'[6] 9,482 11,291 126,989 0 51,813

*2,915 postcodes do not appear in the R100 AddressBase dataset however are included in the National Records of Scotland 2019, release 2 postcode boundaries dataset, these have been included in the count of NGA White.

The Scottish Government set out to procure coverage to target the remaining 'White NGA' areas by conducting a procurement under the 2016 National Broadband Scheme (and in accordance with the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015). An update on the procurement can be found later in this document.

As noted above, if commercial plans fall away in the 'Grey, under review' areas then these will be considered as eligible for intervention and reclassified as 'White NGA' areas.

Where possible, the Scottish Government has made coverage information available at a premises level within the identified white postcode areas to bidders to ensure that bids can target those premises without NGA broadband coverage efficiently.

It should be noted that whilst this report includes mapping of basic broadband coverage, the procurement will not deploy basic broadband technologies. The intention was to provide bidders with details of all the areas where there is basic broadband coverage so as to ensure, so far as possible, that these areas are only overbuilt by NGA compliant broadband infrastructure where the premises will receive over 30Mbps or at least a doubling of speeds, in accordance with the requirements of the 2016 National Broadband Scheme. Where doubling is not possible, the supplier is obliged to demonstrate that the design is optimised to limit the overbuild of existing basic broadband networks with speeds that are below 30Mbps.

Note the city centres of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow have been excluded from this exercise as they are not eligible for state funding in accordance with the 2016 National Broadband Scheme. A breakdown of the excluded premises is shown below:

City Centre Total Premises Premises <30Mbps
Aberdeen City 4,414 2,042
City of Edinburgh 12,883 3,994
Glasgow City 11,395 8,196
Total 28,692 14,232



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