£18 million boost for superfast broadband

Extra funding of almost £18 million is to be invested in broadband thanks to the continued success of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

Six thousand homes and business will benefit due to stronger than expected take-up of fibre broadband by the public. It means a total of £17.8M is being reinvested back into the programme.

The funding boost across Scotland, will connect some premises to high-speed broadband for the first time, and boost connection speeds in other areas.

Openreach is accelerating the return of additional funding under the contract1 after take-up rates in the Digital Scotland intervention area topped 50 per cent.

The DSSB programme will now continue deployment until 2020 with engineers connecting most of the homes and business to a full fibre network (also known as Fibre-to-the-Premises or FTTP). This reliable, resilient technology built directly into properties is capable of carrying speeds of up to 1Gbps2.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson announced the new funding during a visit to see Openreach engineers installing the latest full fibre technology.

Michael Matheson said: “I am delighted that thanks to higher than expected uptake of services on infrastructure funded by the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, even more premises will now receive fast, reliable broadband.

“The programme has not only delivered on time and on budget, but has exceeded its original aim of connecting 95% of Scotland to fibre broadband. More and more communities will now have the opportunity to benefit from investment in reliable and speedy broadband services.”

In March 2017 over £15.6M was invested back into the programme thanks to a similar contract hand back. To date, the partnership has provided fibre broadband access to 931,000 premises.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Partnership Manager for Scotland, said: “This extra funding, which we’re returning early, will help us deploy to another 6,000 of Scotland’s hardest-to-reach households.

“Full fibre broadband provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity. We’ll use it to reduce not-spots and improve some existing speeds.

“We’re very proud of our strong track record of delivering fast broadband to rural Scotland and look forward to connecting even more communities.”

Sara Budge, DSSB Programme Director said: “I am delighted that the programme has received this funding. It allows DSSB to deploy that extra bit further and ensure that even more homes and businesses will soon be able to benefit from uplifts to faster broadband speeds.”


Notes to editors

1 Under the terms of the Digital Scotland contracts, a share of monies generated through demand (Gainshare) is repayable over the 10-year length of the contract to the Scottish Government and HIE. Openreach has chosen to return these funds earlier than planned.

2 These are wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. FTTP is capable of delivering the fastest residential broadband speeds in the UK – up to 1Gbps – fast enough to download a two-hour HD movie in 25 seconds or a 45-minute HD TV programme in just five seconds.

Read more news about Openreach in Scotland

About Openreach

Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.  

We’re more than 35,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. 

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected. 

We work on behalf of more than 665 communications providers like BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m premises. 

Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £15 billion into our network and, at more than 190 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,798 times. 

Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re making progress towards our full fibre optic network target to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. Research shows a nationwide Full Fibre network could potentially provide a £59bn boost to UK productivity.

To help build the new fibre network and deliver better service across the country – we’ve created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles in the last two years and we’re recruiting another 1,000 trainee roles in Openreach in 2021. We’re also building greener – we operate the UK’s second largest commercial fleet and want to help lead the transition to electric vehicles, with a target to transition our fleet to being electric in 2030. 

Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed unit of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions. 

For the year ended 31 March 2021, we reported revenue of £5,244m.

For more information, visit www.openreach.co.uk