Councillors will be asked today to invest £18 million over three years towards improving broadband across Aberdeenshire.
Within the UK, rural Scotland’s broadband services are amongst the poorest and in Aberdeenshire, 17% of all addresses (19,374 premises) widely dispersed across over 2,000 different postcodes, have a slow internet connection,. This is insufficient to undertake many essential applications such as remote working, tele-health and video streaming.
It is recognised that access to high speed broadband is essential to support a robust local economy and deliver educational benefits, as well as offering important social interactions particularly in remote and rural areas.
The Scottish Government has begun a procurement programme to deliver upgraded infrastructure capable of delivering much-improved broadband speeds to 75% of premises by the end of 2015.
Aberdeenshire Council recognises that the provision of a broadband service of at least 2Mbits to all premises should be a priority and will focus its resources in this area.
In addition, the council is keen to invest £2 million alongside Aberdeen City Council to implement an open access fibre optic cable around the western boundary of Aberdeen with a loop around Westhill. This will provide world class ultrafast services to the area and provide a significant economic advantage to businesses. The aim is to ensure that telecommunications infrastructure in Aberdeenshire is genuinely world class that will, in turn drive economic growth and social wellbeing.
Any additional monies will be used to deliver world class broadband services to the Energetica corridor and add to the Scottish Government funding to improve broadband speeds across the rest of Aberdeenshire.