Digital Connectivity

On this page you can find out more information about digital connectivity.

Broadband

We recognise the importance of high quality digital connectivity to our citizens and has been at the forefront of efforts to improve infrastructure and services to businesses and residents in the area.

Significant increases in the number of premises able to access superfast broadband (24 Mbps) have been delivered since April 2014, when the first publicly funded upgrades through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme became operational.

The council contributed £16million to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme which between April 2014 and March 2016 delivered fibre infrastructure which has enabled over 60,000 homes in Aberdeenshire to access superfast broadband for the first time. With the Programme now complete, the outcome for Aberdeenshire was an uplift of over 80,000 premises able to access fibre enabled broadband for the first time. Find out the service situation at your location.

Some further upgrades funded by Gainshare, a reinvestment in the programme by BT consequent to uptake exceeding pre-determined targets, were delivered up to the end of 2019, but the number of premises involved is relatively small in relation to those upgraded by the main programme and the final outcome for Aberdeenshire is around 89% coverage compared to a national average of over 95%.

The challenge of delivering fibre broadband in Aberdeenshire is significant as the area has around twice the national average of Exchange Only (EO) lines, which are more expensive to upgrade. The national average is 22%, Aberdeenshire’s figure is over 45%, representing over 50,000 homes. 25% of new fibre optic cable built in the programme area was installed in Aberdeenshire – an indication of the scale of the challenge and investment involved.

The Scottish Government has announced a successor programme Reaching 100 (R100), which will offer a 30 Mbps connection to 100% of premises in Scotland. R100 should address those premises not covered by the earlier DSSB programme and is likely to deploy a mix of technologies as it’s unlikely that the budget for R100 will be sufficient to fund fixed links to every eligible site. R100 is expected to start delivering upgraded connections in 2021, subject to contracts being agreed later in 2020. View more information and updates on the R100 programme or by contacting digitalconnectivity@gov.scot.

Aligned to the R100 programme, in August 2020 the Scottish Government launched the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme (SBVS), which offers grants of up to £5,000 per premise for those premises that will not benefit from the R100 programme or other commercial investments. Smaller grants of up to £650 will be available for properties that will benefit from R100 or commercial schemes, but not before the end of 2021. The Government’s intention is that every address in Scotland will be able to access a super-fast connection by the end of 2021. View further details, including a postcode checker which gives details of eligibility at property level. The scheme will go live in September 2020.

The UK Government has announced a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for households and businesses that have a connection speed of lower than 10 Mbps (download). The USO requires BT to deliver a solution either via mobile (4G) connectivity or via fixed link, up to a total cost of £3,400. If the cost is over £3,400, the household or business will have to meet the excess.

There is also a UK Government Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme that can provide funding to groups of households and businesses to deliver connection speeds above 30 Mbps. The scheme offers vouchers of up to £1,500 per household and £3,500 per small or medium sized business which can be aggregated to fund a community-based solution. Over 15 companies offer solutions through the voucher scheme in Aberdeenshire.

Within the City Region Deal, we are working to deliver ultrafast connectivity to communities and key industrial estates on the back of £10.5 million investment in full-fibre connectivity for council and NHS sites. Working with NEOS Networks, the objective is to see infrastructure and services in place which will offer affordable high band width gigabit symmetrical upload and download speed services to SMEs and residents in certain parts of Aberdeenshire.

Mobile phone services

Aberdeenshire’s geography means that it is not always possible to get mobile services that are reliable enough for today’s use requirements. We continue to work with the Scottish and UK Governments, Mobile Network Operators and local communities to see what improvements and investments can be made to mobile and data services. This includes, where appropriate to do so, looking at national funding schemes for 5G trials and securing additional investment in 4G connectivity at known not-spots through the Scotland 4G Infill programme. Collieston should benefit from this programme in 2020-2021, with Bogton, Turriff scheduled for a later phase if funding allows.

You can check mobile operator coverage in your area.

Contact us

If you would like more information you can get in touch with us by emailing econdev@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.