The Scottish Rural Parliament is very pleased to announce that our broadband campaign has achieved an early success.
Scottish Government have commissioned additional work from BT to confirm in autumn which areas will and will not get superfast broadband through the BT roll-out.
This knowledge will enable those communities unable to access superfast broadband through BT to work with Community Broadband Scotland to identify alternative methods of accessing this essential service.
In addition, representatives of the Rural Parliament will be meeting with BT and the Scottish Government next week to consider the additional issues raised throughout the campaign. The Rural Parliament is still gathering evidence of these key issues via a short survey for discussion at this meeting. Members of the public with one or more of the following four concerns can submit their evidence here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/broadbandevidence:
- The date for superfast broadband coming to your area has been moved back
- Your neighbours get superfast broadband but you don’t
- BT has not yet told you if you will or will not get superfast broadband
- You have superfast broadband but it is still slow
National Coordinator of the Scottish Rural Parliament Emma Cooper said ?The opportunity for communities to find solutions to their broadband needs ahead of the previously published timescales is very welcome and will ensure that the rural ? urban connectivity divide is not widened further. We?d like to thank all of those who signed the petition, publicised it for us, expressed their support and otherwise helped us to make quick progress with this campaign. We still have a long way to go until all rural communities have sufficient digital connectivity but we recognise that this is a positive step in the right direction.?
A Scottish Government spokesperson said ?As part of the Scottish Government?s commitment to world class digital connectivity, the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme is providing a step change in extending fibre broadband infrastructure into non-commercial areas. So far, over 365,000 homes and businesses have benefitted from the programme.
?We recognise how important the provision of fibre broadband is to people across the country, and understand that people may feel frustration with the level of detail available to them. A postcode checker has been set up ? http://www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen – which allows people to check the status of their area and gives an indication of when infrastructure in their area will be upgraded.
?It is one the largest infrastructure projects in Europe and the deployment is complex, multi-faceted and highly technical. The project is deploying infrastructure in phases, and each phase requires BT to undertake detailed site surveys before it can firm up the locations of cabinets to be upgraded. The programme aims to provide clarity as early as possible to release deployment dates for individual cabinets and areas as soon as site surveys have been undertaken.
?The Scottish Government has also established Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) to support those communities that won?t have a fibre solution delivered by the DSSB programme. We are determined that these communities are not left to the end and that CBS supports activity in parallel with DSSB roll-out. We have asked BT to undertake further modelling, which we expect will provide clarity on those areas that they will not reach and allow CBS and the communities in question to design alternative solutions. We anticipate the results of the modelling will be available in the Autumn.
?The DSSB programme team would be happy to meet with the Scottish Rural Parliament in the coming weeks to discuss the issues that have been raised.?
Notes to editors:
The Scottish Rural Parliament commenced in early 2014 with the first national meeting held in Oban in November 2014. The top issue raised by rural communities was the provision of broadband and mobile phone signal. More details can be found in section 6 of our Action Plan: http://scottishruralparliament.org.uk/rural-issues-and-actions/
A petition calling for a quicker release of information about whether communities would get superfast broadband under the BT roll-out went live online on 1st July 2015.
Contact National Coordinator Emma Cooper 07896 216236 with any questions.