Publication - FOI/EIR release

Reaching 100% (R100) superfast broadband project: FOI release

Published: 12 Jan 2022

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
12 Jan 2022
Reaching 100% (R100) superfast broadband project: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100255656
Date received: 16 Nov 2021
Date responded: 15 Dec 2021
Information requested

Information related to the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) contracts awarded to BT plc.

1. What is the latest state of progress by BT / Openreach in all three contract areas of R100 project?

2. Last year, Paul Wheelhouse MSP Minister for Energy, Connectivity and Islands, stated that a special ‘Post Code Checker’ would be created for the R100 ‘white area’ post codes.
(a) Has this ‘Checker’ been set up?
(b) If Yes, what is the Scottish Government web details for access to the R100 ‘Post code Checker’?

3. For those customers and small businesses unable to wait for R100 installations, a Voucher scheme was available.
(a) How many Vouchers were issued for the R100 ‘white post code areas’?
(b) How many Vouchers were issued for other post code areas?

4. Has the Auditor General Scotland completed a ‘Further progress update’ on “Superfast broadband for Scotland” since September 2018? If Yes, please provide a web link to the report.

5. Ofcom regulation allows Broadband Operators to reduce contract tariffs for persons on benefits. The regulation scheme is voluntary at present and is commonly known as a “Social tariff”.
(a) How many Broadband Operators are offering this “Social Tariff” in Scotland at the present time?
(b) Would the Scottish Government support legislation the make the present ‘low-uptake scheme’ mandatory?

6. Are you the Minister responsible for Digital Directorate Scotland’s policy and programme of work?

Response

I have addressed each of your questions below.

Question One
What is the latest state of progress by BT / Openreach in all three contract areas of R100 project?


A1. All three of the R100 contracts (Central, North and South) are currently in their delivery phase with live connections now available in each contract area.

Question Two
Last year, Paul Wheelhouse MSP Minister for Energy, Connectivity and Islands, stated that a special ‘Post Code Checker’ would be created for the R100 ‘white area’ post codes.
(a) Has this ‘Checker’ been set up?
(b) If Yes, what is the Scottish Government web details for access to the R 100 ‘Post code Checker’?


A2. An online address checker was introduced in August 2020 and can be accessed at www.scotlandsuperfast.com. The address checker provides the most up to date information available regarding the Reaching 100% (R100) programme and superfast broadband infrastructure plans, whether that be through commercial deployment, the R100 contracts or an R100 voucher.

Question Three
For those customers and small businesses unable to wait for R100 installations, a Voucher scheme was available.
(a) How many Vouchers were issued for the R100 ‘white post code areas’?
(b) How many Vouchers were issued for other post code areas?


A3. The R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme is a key delivery strand of our R100 programme and our 100% superfast broadband commitment. Postcodes classified as Next Generation Access (NGA) white are those in which there is no qualifying broadband infrastructure and none is likely to be developed within the following 3 year period.
(a) As of 09/12/2021 there have been 1,241 vouchers ‘Installed’ in postcodes with an NGA white classification. There are a further 1,248 vouchers ‘Issued’ in postcodes with an NGA white classification.
(b) As of 09/12/2021 there have been 47 vouchers ‘Installed’ in postcodes which are not classified as NGA white. There are a further 114 vouchers ‘Issued’ in postcodes which are not classified as NGA white.

Question Four
Has the Auditor General Scotland completed a ‘Further progress update’ on “Superfast broadband for Scotland” since September 2018? If Yes, please provide a web link to the report.


A4. A further progress update on superfast broadband for Scotland has not been completed by Audit Scotland since September 2018.

Question Five
Ofcom regulation allows Broadband Operators to reduce contract tariffs for persons on benefits. The regulation scheme is voluntary at present and is commonly known as a “Social tariff”.
(a) How many Broadband Operators are offering this “Social Tariff” in Scotland at the present time?
(b) Would the Scottish Government support legislation the make the present ‘low-uptake scheme’ mandatory?


A5. (a) Ofcom, as telecoms regulator, has published a list of providers that offer social tariffs on their website: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-andbilling/social-tariffs and have advised that BT, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic currently offer services in Scotland.
(b) This question relates to a potential future reserved policy scenario which would require consideration of a broad range of evidence.

Question Six
Are you the Minister responsible for Digital Directorate Scotland’s policy and programme of work?


A6. Primary responsibility for digital policy and programmes resides with Ms Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy. However, the cross-cutting nature of the digital agenda means that responsibility for different elements resides with a number of Ministers.

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