BT and Scottish Government praise the fastest BDUK rollout in the UK
More than 150,000 properties in Scotland can now receive superfast broadband as a direct result of government-funded initiatives like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
The £410 million Digital Scotland partnership, funded by BDUK, the Scottish Government, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and BT, compromises two separate projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands and the other covering the rest of Scotland.
The former has connected 30,000 homes and businesses and the later 120,000, with 300 kilometres of subsea cable and 2,400 kilometres of fibre on land deployed, along with 600 new cabinets.
Along with the commercial rollout of fibre, it is expected that 95 percent of premises in the country will be able to access superfast broadband by the end of 2018, bringing a range of social and entertainment benefits to residents and opening up a wealth of new commercial opportunities for businesses, say project leaders.
“Today marks another significant step for Scotland and the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership,” says Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. “This is the fastest roll-out of its kind anywhere in the UK, passing 150,000 premises in record time – an engineering feat of the kind for which Scotland is renowned.
“We are still in the early stages, but already thousands of Scottish homes and businesses are able to take advantage and sign up. They simply wouldn’t have had access to high-speed technology without this ambitious partnership project.”
BT says 1.4 million people in Scotland can now connect to its Openreach fibre network, which now covers 21 million properties in the UK. Sixty thousand are being added each week thanks to BDUK, which has now brought superfast broadband to more than one million properties that would not be otherwise have been connected by commercial rollouts.
However the programme has proved controversial as BT has won all of the money available. Some have questioned if BDUK effectively amounts to state aid and whether the taxpayer is receiving value for money. The company has constantly rejected claims from MPs and rivals, arguing that the project has gone well.