£95m ultrafast broadband boost for Scotland
Over 250,000 Scottish homes and businesses are set for a major broadband boost thanks to a £95m investment by leading digital network provider Openreach.
More than 50 further communities across Scotland will be upgraded following the company’s latest build announcement, with a new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable “full fibre” network to be built to most premises in these areas.
The Highland capital of Inverness and East Kilbride are the largest locations to benefit, with Ecclefechan in Dumfries and Galloway and Stow in Scottish Borders among the smallest.
The island communities of Rothesay on Bute, Whiting Bay on Arran and Port Ellen on Islay are also included, alongside places such as Broughty Ferry, Portsoy, Cumbernauld, Wishaw and Garelochhead.
Openreach has now extended its “superfast” broadband to more than six million homes and businesses across the UK with ultrafast full fibre, around 480,000 of them in Scotland.
The latest plans follow news earlier this year that around 300,000 Scottish homes and businesses would get access to Openreach’s new network, mostly in rural and harder to serve areas.
Katie Milligan, chairperson of the Openreach Board in Scotland, said: “As Scotland’s biggest fibre builder, we’re delighted to be unveiling another broadband boost right across the country. Good connectivity is vital – whether it’s to work from home, access education and care services, or for gaming and streaming entertainment – and that’s why we’re investing across the UK to upgrade our network to 25 million premises.
“Nobody’s building faster, further or to a higher standard than Openreach, and we’ve already reached six million homes and businesses with ultrafast full fibre technology, including 480,000 in Scotland. It’s proving popular as well, with nearly 23 per cent already choosing to start using it.
“Our engineers and build partners are reaching more communities every week and we’re not just building in cities and urban areas. Many rural and hard to reach communities are already benefitting and we plan to reach many more in the coming months and years.”
Kate Forbes, Scottish Government finance secretary, said: “Digital connectivity is more vital than ever and critical to Scotland’s plans for a strong, green and fair economic recovery.
“Our Reaching 100% (R100) programme – including our investment of £600 million in the R100 contracts – ensures that everyone in Scotland can access superfast broadband. With Openreach’s latest commercial investment of £95 million, this will ensure more than 50 of our communities across Scotland will be able to access even faster full-fibre broadband.”
Across the UK, more than 1.3 million homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network.
Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the “clear economic benefits” of connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £4.5 billion boost to the economy.
Openreach engineers have been making the technology available to as many as 47,000 premises a week throughout the UK. Work will continue between now and 2026, with the full list of locations and timescales being updated regularly on Openreach’s website.
The company plans to reach a total of 25 million premises by the end of December 2026, including more than six million in the “hardest-to-serve” parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.
Openreach employs more than 3,200 people across Scotland.