Have your say on ‘Shire broadband

Aberdenshire Council have revealed that they are issuing a broadband survey to all addresses within the area as part of their work, with the Scottish Government, to access available funding to improve Aberdeenshire’s broadband coverage.

Recently, Aberdeenshire Council had already agreed to contribute up to £18million to improve the broadband services in the area, but it must provide evidence of a demand from residents and businesses in order to be in the best position to access further funding from the Scottish Government.

As such, residents are being urged to complete and return the surveys, which will be on postcards, to demonstrate that a demand exists by Thursday, February 28.

Within the UK, rural Scotland’s broadband services are amongst the poorest.

And, in Aberdeenshire, 17% of all addresses have no broadband connection because of infrastructure constraints.

As a result, the council say that this is insufficient to undertake many essential applications such as remote working, online health consultations and video streaming.

A further 80% of addresses do not enjoy service speeds greater than 6Mbps (Megabits per second).

The Scottish Government has begun a procurement programme to deliver upgraded infrastructure capable of delivering broadband speeds of at least 24Mbps to 75% of premises in each local authority area by the end of 2015, and a basic service of 2Mbps to the remaining 25%.

Aberdeenshire Council will focus its resources on increasing the minimum speed beyond 2Mbps to prevent further widening of the digital divide.

In addition, the council will invest £2 million alongside Aberdeen City Council towards superfast broadband services around the western boundary of Aberdeen and Westhill.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Peter Argyle said: “Aberdeenshire Council, working with the Scottish Government, is committed to making faster broadband a reality. We recognise that it delivers a host of economic, social and educational benefits as well as enhancing Aberdeenshire’s attraction as a place to live and work.

“It is important that residents and businesses help us secure the additional Government funding by returning their broadband survey postcards. They simply need to give their name and postcode and tick one box indicating whether they would like their broadband to be faster, or whether they would like a broadband service if they do not currently receive it.

“Completing the postcard does not create any commitment on the part of the business or householder.”

Vice chair Councillor Alan S. Buchan said: “Aberdeenshire was one of the first councils to commit significant funding to improving broadband infrastructure in its area, underlining the importance it places on the rural economy, its social benefits, and its impact on the council’s ability to deliver services more cost effectively.

“I urge residents and businesses to complete and return their survey postcards so that we have the evidence to maximise our investment in delivering faster broadband across Aberdeenshire.”

Completed postcards must be returned by February 28. No stamp is required.

Broadband speeds, as gathered by USwitch, for the AB43 9HP area code, where the Fraserburgh Herald is located, suggest that High Street benefits from an estimated 7.5Mb broadband speed, with high speed broadband available for the postcode at up to 24Mbps.

While Rosehearty had similar broadband speeds to Fraserburgh, Invercairn displayed estimated speeds at a slower 4Mbps.