Fibre Rollout Update: Scotland’s Journey to 100% Gigabit Broadband Coverage

Project Gigabit is revolutionizing UK's digital landscape, targeting over a million premises for gigabit broadband, especially in rural and remote areas. 68%of premises in Scotland are now gigabit capable.
scotland fibre rollout update

Project Gigabit: Pioneering Universal Hyperfast Broadband Across the UK

Project Gigabit is the UK government broadband plan aimed at delivering next-generation gigabit broadband to over a million households and businesses across the UK. The program targets homes and businesses that are not included in broadband suppliers’ plans, reaching parts of the UK that might otherwise miss out on getting the digital connectivity they need. The fast, reliable connections delivered by Project Gigabit will level-up mostly rural and remote communities across the UK, as well as tackling pockets of poor connectivity in urban areas. The goal is to deliver reliable, hyperfast fibre broadband capable of download speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second to everyone in the UK, with 85% of UK premises to have gigabit Wi-Fi by 2025 and aiming to reach 100% coverage by 2030.

Spotlight on Scotland: Urban vs Rural Connectivity

Scotland Gigabit Coverage 2023

In the September 2023 Project Gigabit progress update, Building Digital UK, working with ThinkBroadband figures, reported that 77% of UK premises are now able to access a gigabit-capable broadband connection. In Scotland specifically, this figure is 68%, and there are considerable differences between the level of coverage in urban and rural areas. While 76% of premises in urban areas in Scotland are gigabit capable, this drops to only 29% in rural areas.  In comparison, the figures for England are 80% and 40% respectively.

Scotland Gearing Up for Gigabit Broadband Procurements

In England, all of the currently planned procurements have been launched and the first homes have been connected under Project Gigabit contracts. In Scotland, no procurements have been launched.

In April 2023, the Scottish Government’s Public Review discovered approximately 410,000 properties that are outside the current scope of commercial or government-funded plans for gigabit-speed broadband by suppliers. However, BDUK expects that a number of these will be covered by future commercial expansions. In preparation for the initiation of Project Gigabit procurements, the Scottish Government and BDUK are currently engaging with providers in preliminary market discussions.

Inverness Joins Scotland’s National Broadband Plan

Highlands and Islands Enterprise have stepped away from their local procurement plans for the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. This change means that properties in the Inverness region will now be part of a nationwide plan, ensuring a more unified approach to Scotland’s broadband upgrade. Despite this change, the promise of enhanced connectivity isn’t on pause — voucher-enabled installations continue to thread the web of gigabit broadband along the scenic North East coast, beginning from Inverness itself.

The BDUK Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has been instrumental in this nationwide upgrade. It’s a testament to the scheme’s efficacy that 3,900 vouchers have already been utilized in Scotland, contributing to the burgeoning network of future-ready internet connections.

Over 31,000 Scottish Premises Step into Gigabit Era

At the heart of Scotland’s broadband revolution is the  ‘£600 million Reaching 100% Programme’ (R100). With a significant £49.5 million kickstart from the UK government, R100 has made substantial strides. The fruits of this considerable investment are already evident, with over 31,000 premises across Scotland now enjoying gigabit-speed connectivity — a clear sign that Scotland is not only dreaming of a fully connected future but is actively constructing it.

With each new connection made by the R100 programme, we are witnessing not just the spreading of broadband cables but the forging of new pathways for commercial success, educational enrichment, and communal ties that were once beyond our imagination. Continue to watch this space as we chronicle Scotland’s strides toward a fully connected society — a vision both daring and essential in the era of digital transformation.

Navigating New Networks: LiDAR Mapping for Flawless Fibre Deployment

Installing fibre-to-the-premises network infrastructure is a multi-step process which requires rigorous planning to ensure that the installation is carried out effectively and with as little disruption as possible.  Before installing fibre optic cables, a survey is needed to determine the best route for the cable.

This involves identifying the areas where the cable will be installed, the type of terrain, and the obstacles that may need to be bypassed. Based on this information, the installation team will develop a plan that outlines the cable route, the number of splice points, and the location of termination points.

Mobile mapping with LiDAR can be useful in the installation process of fibre-to-the-premises network infrastructure. LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) sensors use laser light to detect objects in the surrounding area. By precisely calculating the distance, LiDAR creates detailed 3D representations of the environment, facilitating the creation of comprehensive models to analyse terrain and existing infrastructure.

Check out Digiflec’s Mobile Mapping Service, which uses a mapping vehicle specifically developed for use on rural roads, here.

Got an enquiry?