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Broadband Target Delivered

Published: 6 Dec 2015 00:01

Coverage of next generation broadband reaches 85 per cent of premises

Coverage of next generation broadband has reached the Scottish Government's target of 85 per cent of premises in Scotland ahead of schedule, according to a report by the industry regulator Ofcom.

The Connected Nations report, which summarises the state of digital connectivity in each country within the UK, states that coverage has risen 22 percentage points from 63 per cent to 85 per cent. This increase meets the Scottish Government target outlined as part of the Step Change programme within Scotland's Digital Future: Infrastructure Action Plan.

Welcoming the report's findings, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

"Access to fibre broadband is a must in today's world. Under the Scottish Government's Step Change programme we committed to extending the infrastructure needed to deliver next generation broadband to those areas where the market will currently not go. This included a commitment to provide access, alongside commercial coverage, to 85 per cent of home and businesses, by the end of 2015.

"The Ofcom statistics contained within this report show we have reached this target six months ahead of schedule. This is a great achievement and is a clear indication of the progress being made thanks to our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. Our data suggests that only 66 per cent of premises across Scotland would have been covered commercially, with no commercial coverage planned for the Western Isles, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands.

"I'm also pleased that access to superfast broadband speeds in rural areas has seen a significant increase over the period of the report – 8 per cent of premises in 2014 to 31 per cent now.

"However, we also recognise that there is still more to do, particularly in improving rural broadband and mobile availability and service quality. The £410 million Digital Scotland programme will continue to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to areas not covered by commercial rollout and we remain on track to reach 95% by end 2017. ‎We are also continuing to work with Community Broadband Scotland to ensure that there is a high quality, high speed and sustainable solutions for remote communities."

Notes to editors

Ofcom's Connected Nations report can be found here:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/infrastructure/connected-nations-2015/

Ofcom's Scotland specific report can be found here:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/infrastructure/2015/downloads/cn15-scotland.pdf

Scotland's Digital Future: Infrastructure Action Plan can be found here:

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2012/01/1487