'Ambitious plans to deliver ultrafast broadband in Aberdeen City and Shire have lifted a top national award.
The North East of Scotland Digital Strategy, developed by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, picked up the Urban Network Award at the NextGen Conference in London.
The accolade was part of the annual 2013 Digital Challenge Awards, designed to recognise UK projects which promise to deliver “the best in next-generation digital access infrastructure innovation“.
The City and Shire councils are working in partnership to plough £2million each into ensuring ultrafast broadband can be delivered in the city and the surrounding area – with a further £5.58 million coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, along with a multi-million pound private sector investment. The plans promise hugely improved broadband speeds and the acceleration of 4G wireless as well as wifi coverage, helping to secure jobs, investment and new business growth.
Businesses wanting to locate in the region’s major business parks and development corridors need access to world-class ultrafast digital infrastructure to enable them to compete on an international basis – but while Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have the highest levels of broadband uptake in the UK, they have some of the slowest speeds.
Enterprise, Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee member Councillor Yvonne Allan, who attended the award presentation, said: “It is absolutely vital that a world-class city like Aberdeen has world-class digital connectivity for our business and for our citizens.
“A commitment to bring ultrafast broadband to Aberdeen is a key priority for this council, enshrined in our ‘Smarter Aberdeen’ policy document – and this award shows that we have the plans and the finance in place to make sure we deliver on our promise.”
Aberdeenshire Council leader Councillor Jim Gifford said: “The demand for improved broadband in the North-east is clear, and it is great that this innovative project has received recognition.
“This partnership approach allows us to bring benefits across Aberdeen City and Shire that will deliver noticeable improvements to a large audience.”