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 of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) - this is our Reaching 100% (R100) commitment.
No other part of the UK has matched our commitment - this is unique to Scotland.
R100 will deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network, making Scotland one of the best connected places anywhere in Europe, and underpinning our future economic growth.
In December 2017, we announced investment of £600m for the procurement phase of the R100 programme - a vital investment in Scotland's national infrastructure.
This is the biggest public investment ever made in a single 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 Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme.
The procurement process for R100 is well underway. 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 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 procurement 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.
We expect to award contracts by the end of 2019, with delivery timescales confirmed once we have a supplier or suppliers in place. Broadband delivery will continue on the ground throughout 2019/20, through both our DSSB 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 may still be needed to provide superfast access to some of those areas. With this in mind, we are developing plans in parallel with the main procurement to ensure our 100% commitment is met.
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.
In the 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 at https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/how-can-i-get-it/alternative-solutions/