BDUK Scotland deal brings total public fibre investment in the country to £410 million
BT and the Scottish government have agreed a £264 million deal to bring fibre broadband to 85 percent of properties in the country by 2015 and 95 percent by the end of 2017, with the help of funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
BDUK is providing £50 million of the £157.6 million of public funding, which also includes £51 million supplied by 14 local authorities and BT is stumping up £106.7 million.
It is anticipated that around 600,000 homes and businesses will benefit from the agreement, many of whom would not be covered by the commercial rollout of fibre in Scotland.
It is predicated that the rollout will create £2 billion in economic benefits over 15 years, including 14,000 new jobs, while it is claimed it will improve social prosperity in Scotland.
“Today’s announcement signals the start of one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the whole of Europe,” said Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. “It will connect communities across rural and urban areas, providing a platform for future economic development and regeneration.
“Next generation broadband enables businesses to compete on the international stage. It has the potential to transform the way in which we educate our children, provide health and social care and deliver our public services. It provides Scotland with a platform upon which we can build and sustain a world class digital country.”
Scottish broadband investment
Earlier this year, BT and the Scottish government provided funding for a £146 million project to bring fibre to the Highlands and Islands, which brings the total investment in Scottish broadband to £410 million.
BT has so far won all of the money available under BDUK after Fujitsu withdrew from the procurement process earlier this year. This has led to questions about whether the initiative is providing the taxpayer with value for money, but BT is adamant that its experience and resources make it the ideal candidate to deliver such projects.
“We bring the benefits of economies of scale driving value for money, huge experience in deployment and working in partnership with publicly funded projects, and building open networks which offer internet users an array of choice in service providers and costs,” said Bill Murphy, BT managing director of Next Generation Access.
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