Scottish Government launches consultation on bids to extend NGA broadband

The Scottish Government has announced its intention to tender for bids from companies to extend coverage of next generation access (NGA) infrastructure as part of its commitment to deliver superfast broadband to 100% of premises.

A consultation running until 5 August will give the public, businesses, ISPs and broadband infrastructure operators an opportunity to comment on the geographic area of intervention proposed by the Government. It has been prepared on the basis of a survey of network operators on their plans for the next three years, along with the Government’s own data.

The Reaching 100% Programme (“R100”) aims to extend the availability of NGA broadband infrastructure to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver superfast broadband access to all premises in Scotland by 2021. “To achieve this, Scottish Government intends to procure further coverage of NGA broadband infrastructure (capable of delivering download speeds of at least 30 Mbps) in areas where such broadband is currently unavailable,” its website says.

It has mapped Scotland’s postcodes black, grey or white, depending on availability, and plans to focus the forthcoming procurement of NGA broadband on the white areas, where none exists and none is planned in the next three years, which are understood to include 282,801 premises. Once the consultation is closed and the intervention areas have been finalised, tenders will be issued for bidding in the autumn, with contracts awarded next year and work is expected to begin in 2019, according to the consultation.