Reaching 100% - Superfast Broadband for All
Technology is transforming how we live our lives.
It connects us in new and different ways. It allows us to develop new products and services; access information instantly and expand our knowledge and skills; develop successful, global businesses; and reduce costs and increase the quality of public services.
Our Digital Strategy sets out our vision for Scotland as a vibrant, inclusive, open and outward looking digital nation.
That needs high quality digital connectivity all across Scotland, particularly in our rural communities. Building that future-proofed infrastructure has to start now. It will underpin future economic growth and transform the economic prospects of rural areas.
We want every home and business in Scotland to have access to superfast broadband by 2021 – this is our “Reaching 100%” (R100) commitment. By superfast, we mean speeds greater than 30 Mbps.
No other part of the UK has matched our commitment - this is unique to Scotland.
This will deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network, placing Scotland as one of the best connected places anywhere in Europe, and underpinning our future economic growth.
On 14 December 2017, we announced investment of £600m for the initial phase of the new R100 programme.
This is the biggest public investment ever made in a UK broadband project; and will help deliver the first universal superfast programme in the UK.
Our investment is over double the amount of public funding committed to our current Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband ( DSSB) roll-out and more than three times bigger than the UK’s Challenge fibre fund.
We have also formally launched the procurement process for the Reaching 100% (R100) programme. Our approach aims to ensure that all parts of Scotland are within reach of accessible fibre – creating new backhaul to underpin superfast broadband and 4G today and ultrafast broadband and 5G tomorrow.
The initial procurement is split across three regional lots (North, Central and South). This approach, and the scale of our ambition and investment, has been designed to maximise interest from telecoms suppliers from across the UK and Europe
The first phase will not focus on urban city centre premises but target investment where it is needed most – in rural Scotland. We expect commercial suppliers to fill gaps in urban areas and are encouraged by the emerging plans from BT, Virgin Media, CityFibre and Vodafone, which suggests that this is beginning to happen.
The procurement process is likely to take around 12 months and we expect to have suppliers in place – and ready to start building – by early 2019. Broadband delivery will continue on the ground throughout 2018, both through our Digital Scotland programme and commercial build.
Scotland has some of the most challenging locations anywhere in Europe for providing telecoms infrastructure. Though we expect this initial procurement to extend access to the vast majority of premises, bringing accessible fibre far closer to our most remote rural areas, additional measures will likely still be needed to provide superfast access to some of those areas.
Key to this will be a superfast voucher scheme that will deliver a wide range of superfast technologies including fixed wireless, 4G mobile, superfast satellite as well as emerging technologies such as TV White Space. More details on the scheme will follow during 2019.
However, it is important to re-iterate that the initial £600m investment is crucial to any additional measure as the new fibre it provides will make it easier to deliver those superfast technologies.
The commitment to reach 100% will be delivered by the end of 2021, ensuring that we can truly boast superfast connectivity across Scotland.
In meantime, the Better Broadband Scheme will continue to offer an interim solution for those premises experiencing slow speeds and that are not part of the current Digital Scotland programme roll-out. Find out more about it here.