More than 950,000 households and businesses across Scotland were reached by the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout, according to data released today.
As the civil engineering programme was ‘piped out’ in Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond, it was hailed as key to tackling the exceptional national challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The infrastructure build, which began in 2014, connected 150,000 premises more than planned, providing a digital platform across rural Scotland to support access to vital e-services.
Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “The DSSB programme has been truly outstanding. It exceeded expectations, in the end delivering fibre broadband to more than 950,600 homes and businesses across Scotland.
“The way we work and live our lives has changed dramatically in the past year, and by providing decent, reliable broadband the DSSB programme has helped many people to work, learn and stay in touch with family and friends from their own homes.”
McKee added: “I’m delighted to be here in Luss with our delivery partners Openreach.
“This village is a great example of a rural community benefitting from fibre broadband. Across the country more than 97% of homes and businesses now have access to fibre-based broadband and the transformative benefits for work and social life it offers.”
Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme
The programme’s target to extend fibre-based broadband services to 95% of Scottish homes was completed at the end of 2017.
The build continued into 2020 thanks to efficiencies and reinvestment driven by strong take-up, benefiting thousands of additional households and businesses.
Engineers laid 16,730km of new cable, including 400km of sub-sea cable to connect islands with 5,078 new fibre cabinets offering broadband services at speeds up to 80Mbps.
Thousands of properties reached in the programme’s final year can connect to gigabit-capable, ultrafast full-fibre technology.
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Robert Thorburn, Partnership Director for Openreach Scotland, said: “We’re thrilled to see the transformative effect of better broadband across every part of Scotland. This has been a really successful partnership, going much further than planned and reaching nearly a million homes and businesses which might otherwise have struggled through the pandemic.
“Good connectivity has never been more important, and the huge expansion of the fibre network leaves a strong legacy to build on, including the deployment of 4G services in remote areas. We’re cracking on with the next stage of the journey.”
Sara Budge, DSSB Programme Director, added: “From the very first cabinet in Kirkton of Skene, Aberdeenshire, to seeing more than 950,600 homes and businesses able to receive fibre-based broadband, the DSSB rollout is transforming lives and delivering significant economic and social benefits.
“It has enabled people in the communities where state intervention was required to realise the full potential of e-health and e-government benefits during the pandemic – and helped businesses to survive, adapt and develop new digital models.”