More rural homes and businesses will get access to faster broadband following a further £36million extension of Reaching 100% (R100) contracts.
Extending existing contracts with delivery partner Openreach will allow a further 2,637 rural properties across Scotland to access gigabit-enabled connections thanks to additional investment from the Scottish and UK governments in the R100 scheme.
It will deliver speeds over 30 times faster than the Scottish Government’s original commitment and fulfill a 2021/22 schedule for the Government’s commitment to deliver gigabit-capable connections to the islands.
The contracts for the North Lot – covering the North of Scotland and most of the inhabited islands of Scotland – and the South Lot – covering Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and spanning East Lothian and East Ayrshire – are extended with this new investment of R100.
The UK Government’s Gigabit Project will fund £16 million of this additional investment, which will be split between the R100 North and South contracts. The Scottish Government will invest an additional £20 million in the North contract to help fund the gap between the delivery cost and the Gigabit project contribution.
Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “This latest investment will connect more homes and businesses in rural and island communities across Scotland to gigabit-ready broadband. This will have considerable economic, social and development impacts.
“Our R100 program goes further and provides faster broadband than originally planned. This takes time and significant investment, but we are fully committed to ensuring that as many people as possible can experience the significant benefits of this scalable digital infrastructure.
UK Government Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: “Bringing super-fast and reliable broadband to hard-to-reach areas is at the heart of the UK Government’s mission to upgrade communities, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in Scotland with our additional £16m investment in R100.
“We have already delivered faster broadband to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Scotland and there is even more investment underway through Project Gigabit, our record-breaking £5billion scheme. sterling to bring growth and prosperity to rural areas by putting them in the digital fast lane.
Openreach Scotland Partnership Director Robert Thorburn said: “Building the R100 is unique in a generation, bringing the fastest and most reliable technology to our most remote residents. Integral fiber is scalable – so the new network will always meet the nation’s needs.
“Connecting these properties one by one is one of the biggest broadband challenges in Europe. To make the best use of resources, we align R100 construction with our own rural investment. This will help us send engineers and equipment to the most remote places, where they are needed.
“We will continue to explore all options to reach more rural homes, faster.”