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Sat June 19 2021

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Scotland signs £384m superfast broadband contract

15 Dec 20 Work is set to start on the provision of superfast broadband to the north of Scotland, including the installation of subsea cables to serve remote rural and island communities.

The Scottish government has signed a £384m contract with BT as part of the £600m ‘Reaching 100%’ (R100) programme.

The programme will deliver speeds over 30 times faster than the Scottish government’s superfast commitment. Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology will be used for more than 80% of addresses under the contract covering the north.

The contract will also involve the laying of 16 new subsea cables aimed at providing future-proofed and resilient connections for all island local authorities.

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Connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The role of digital connectivity in our everyday lives has never been clearer as we tackle the pandemic, and the contract signature for the North lot, involving funding of £384 million, marks a significant step towards ensuring our 100% commitment is delivered across Scotland, including to some of our most remote and rural communities.

"Scotland has some of the most challenging locations anywhere in Europe for providing telecoms infrastructure and we are taking additional steps to provide superfast access to some of the hardest-to-reach areas. More than 80% of the build we are funding will provide full fibre to the premises and speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Complex engineering work to lay 16 new subsea cables will provide resilient connections for our most remote communities and download speeds equal to that experienced in our most urban areas.”

BT has been awarded the contract to deliver all of the R100 contracts. Openreach will begin survey work in the north lot area early in 2021. Openreach managing director Katie Milligan said: “Getting to this point has been long and complex, and the build in the north, with its wild and beautiful land and seascapes, will bring new challenges to test our engineering inventiveness. We look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish government to get this vital job done.”

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