The Scottish Government is currently encouraging businesses and households in Scotland to become more digital. Introducing the “Digital Scotland” Programme was a key step on the way to transforming Scotland into a world class digital nation by 2020. Alongside Digital Scotland, the Scottish Government also implemented a series of projects under the “Demonstrating Digital” programme to promote and encourage world class innovation. In this blog article, we will outline the ambitious plans of the Scottish Government, as well of the big Telecoms providers.
Scottish Government: “Digital Scotland”
The Digital Scotland programme has two teams:
- The Rest of Scotland Programme team which is based in Glasgow
- The Highland and Island programme team is based in Inverness
Both are made up of Scottish Government, specialist consultants and BT personnel. They both plan on setting a path based on digital ambition and to achieve a permanent digital legacy. By introducing high-speed broadband to Scotland, it is one of the most creative and ambitious infrastructures programs in the whole of Europe.
The Scottish Government has been influential with their approach in the digitalisation of Scotland. By appointing BT and paying them £156 million to reach a target of 85% of all premises having access to a broadband network by March 2016. This figure has been in fact achieved and has now increased to 95% for December 2017.
The aim is to make sure all rural and remote areas of Scotland (The highlands and Islands) have fibre broadband connection installed. This means that businesses within that location can strive therefore nourishing business innovation, amplifying productivity and strengthen Scotland’s overall competitiveness.
Scottish Government: “Demonstrating Digital”
Glasgow Housing Association WiFi Pilot
supporting housing associations in both Glasgow and Edinburgh to prototype affordable broadband services to digitally excluded tenants.
Telehealth trial (Edinburgh)
supporting University of Edinburgh to demonstrate point to point wireless links utilising free space optics and 24 GHz microwave technology.
Strathclyde University White Space Trial
partnering with Strathclyde University to demonstrate TV white space technology as alternative back-haul for wireless broadband services.
Mobile Coverage (Coll)
facilitating partnerships between Development Coll and Vodafone to develop a sustainable business model for the delivery of 4G mobile to the Isle of Coll.
While BT have officially teamed up with the Scottish Government to help make this vision possible, the other big telecom providers are not just watching and waiting.
Virgin Media: “Project Lightning”
Virgin Media have announced their £3 billion “Project Lightning” network expansion within Scotland and the rest of the UK. The project promises to connect more than a 3rd of the planned 360,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2019.
They plan on delivering ultrafast fibre broadband not only to urban, but also to more rural areas of the country. Specifically on the map are:
- 55,000 buildings in the areas of: Kilmarnock, Ayr, Prestwick and Irvine.
- 70,000 homes & businesses in the Fife including Dunfermline, Dalgety Bay, Rosyth and Inverkeithing.
- Villages such as: Kirknewton, Kilmacolm, Houston, Crosslee, Craigends and the Bridge of Weir.
CityFibre: “Gigabit Cities”
CityFibre call their broadband network projects “Gigabit Cities”. CityFibre’s approach for their Gigabit Cities is to build the network in such a way that the entire community – including public and private sector businesses, households and mobile network users – can be supplied with super fast internet from it.
Four Gigabit Cities have been “built” in Scotland since 2015: Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Overall, CityFibre has left a 237 miles fibre footprint in Scotland, including the four Gigabit Cities, as well as the Ayr and Stirling metro regions.
So far, only Aberdeen and Edinburgh are serviced actively, and the network Stirling metro region is currently still being constructed.
To see the focuses of the major projects at one glance please have a look at our info graphic. If you have any questions for us regrading telecoms or would like to find out what fibre broadband options or alternatives are available to you, please get in touch!