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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
07 July 2022
Scotland lagging behind rest of UK in fibre connectivity

Scotland lagging behind rest of UK in fibre connectivity

Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK for digital fibre coverage.

And consulting director of Intelligens Consulting, Iqbal Singh Bedi, has warned Scottish policy makers that they must do more to attract fibre investment.  

The telecoms expert released its mid-year update last month, which reported that since December 2021 UK fibre coverage had increased by eight per cent. More concerningly, it shows that Scotland is well below the UK average for fibre availability, with just over a third of Scottish councils ranking above the UK national average for coverage.  

Bedi expressed concern at Scotland’s figures, citing that it “continues to suffer from under investment”.

Aberdeen and Edinburgh scored the highest for coverage in Scotland, while the country’s largest city, Glasgow, does not yet meet the national average.  

Six Scottish councils have significantly increased their fibre coverage. Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire are considered ‘rising stars’, as they rose from below the Scottish average to above the UK average within six months.  

Bedi said: “The market has changed significantly since the last update was published in 2021 and alternative network fibre operators have secured billions more investment, meaning fibre availability has shot up.

“A key finding of the data is that while fibre availability in London is well above the UK average, Scotland is well below the UK average and continues to suffer from under investment.”

Last month, Scotland’s Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes told the Economy and Fair Work Committee, that Scottish Government is taking a different approach to providing gigabyte speed south of the border through its R100 project.

Forbes said: “We start with the hardest [area] first, working backwards, rather than do what Project Gigabyte is doing, which is the cheapest, commercially easy, first.”

Of the £600m investment into R100, £384m has been allocated to the north of Scotland, which is considered to have some of the most difficult places to install super-fast broadband in the UK.  

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