Publication - Progress report

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2015: progress report 2017

Published: 30 Apr 2018
Part of:
Building, planning and design, Economy

This annual progress report on our Infrastructure Investment Plan outlines key achievements over the course of the last year and looks forward to developments during this year and beyond.

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2015: progress report 2017


Access to high speed broadband has been transformed in Scotland in recent years. The Scottish Government alongside our partners, has invested over £400 million in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband ( DSSB) programme, which has extended fibre broadband access to over 870,000 premises across Scotland so far.

The DSSB investment is being delivered across two regional projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands; the other covering the rest of Scotland. The latest coverage figures for both projects are currently being assured but we expect to be able to confirm shortly that the headline DSSB programme target, of 95% fibre access by the end of 2017, was achieved.

The programme was originally due to complete at the end of 2017 but additional investment has been generated by early take-up on the new infrastructure, extending deployment throughout 2018 and pushing coverage beyond the original 95% target.

The success of the DSSB programme, alongside commercial roll-out, has seen superfast broadband coverage increase faster in Scotland than in any other part of the UK – up by 26 percentage points since 2014, compared to 16 percentage points for the UK as a whole [1] .

The Scottish Government wants to maintain this momentum and ensure that no part of Scotland is left behind. Scotland is the only part of the UK to have committed to extending superfast broadband access to 100% of premises, by the end of 2021.

To support this, the Scottish Government has committed £600 million to the initial phase of the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, which will deliver the commitment. This is the biggest public investment ever made in a single UK broadband project; and is a programme, and a policy, that is entirely unique to Scotland.

The initial R100 procurement was launched in December 2017. It is expected to last approximately one year, with suppliers for each of the three regional procurement lots in place by early 2019.

The R100 programme will not focus solely on ensuring that every home and business can access minimum broadband speeds of 30mbps. It will also enhance backhaul capacity, enabling a wide range of high speed, high bandwidth connectivity, including mobile coverage.

Our investment in the R100 programme will help deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network that will make rural Scotland one of the best connected places anywhere in Europe, and underpin future economic growth.


Achieving improved mobile coverage in Scotland – extending access to 4G services while laying the groundwork for future 5G deployment – is an objective referenced in the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy refresh: Realising Scotland's Full Potential in a Digital World (2017) and in the Scottish Government’s 2017-18 Programme for Government.

We are delivering against the actions set out in our 2016 Mobile Action Plan. In August 2017 we launched the Scottish 4G Infill programme in which we will invest £25 million to deliver 4G coverage to selected mobile notspots. In 2017, we also legislated to relax permitted development rights which make it easier and faster for operators to build new or extend existing infrastructure. We are trialling non-domestic rates relief in a number of pilot locations for new mobile masts in non-commercial areas as a way of incentivising mast build, and are exploring how this trial can be extended. We are also exploring how we could introduce rental guidance to help facilitate the deployment of mobile infrastructure utilising publicly owned assets.

Looking forward to 5G, through the Scotland Innovation Partnership ( SIP) – a partnership with industry and academia – we aim to promote the development of 5G in Scotland, positioning Scotland as a testing ground where the key elements that underpin the future success of 5G can be developed and trialled. Working with SIP and other Scottish partners, we aim to secure an appropriate Scottish share of UK Government funding for 5G, with a particular focus on rural connectivity and the associated challenges in delivery and development of viable business models and use cases. We have supported recent partner and Scottish stakeholder bids to the UK Government for 5G funding and will continue to do so as the UKG’s 5G funding programme evolves.