Category: Aberdeenshire

Reference Library – Scotland – Aberdeenshire Broadband

Digital divide as north broadband branded ‘worst in Britain’ 0

Digital divide as north broadband branded ‘worst in Britain’

A damning survey has revealed the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland have the worst broadband speeds in the UK. In a study which tested hundreds of thousands of households and businesses in Britain’s 389 local authority areas, the average for the north mainland and northern isles all fell significantly short of the Government’s proposed minimum download speed of 10 Megabits per second (Mbps). Last night, as the Scottish Government claimed things would be even worse without its input, critics called for the “unacceptable” lack of connectivity in the north to be addressed as a priority.

Scottish Conservative politician Edward Mountain MSP said: “The remoter areas of Orkney, Shetland and the Highlands need the best possible connection of broadband to make up for the huge physical connection problems we have here. “It’s annoying that so much has been made (by Mr Ewing) about investing and connecting people in rural areas. It’s even more important in rural areas because we can not just jump in a bus, and really need the ability to talk to people on the internet.” Orkney MSP Liam McArthur (Scottish Lib Dem) has called for a renewed commitment by the Scottish and UK governments and their agencies to delivering superfast broadband. He said: “Good, reliable and affordable broadband is increasingly essential, not just for businesses but also for households looking to access a range of services.

It is also a key means of families and friends keeping in touch. “While I recognise progress has been made, these figures reaffirm our fears that the gap in broadband speeds between Orkney and the rest of the UK is growing. This digital divide will only make it harder for Orkney to compete and leaves people with an unacceptable below par service.” Consumer protection watchdog Which? published its research using data from its speed checker between January and March, which show average download speeds for Orkney are firmly at the foot of the table with just 6.3Mbps, while Shetland has 8.4Mbps, and the Highlands was third from bottom with 8.8Mbps.

These speeds fall well below 10Mbps, the minimum download speed proposed under the UK Government’s Universal Service Obligation that anyone in the UK would be entitled to request. Fergus Ewing, cabinet secretary for connectivity, said that without the Scottish Government’s investment there would be as little as 21% coverage across the Highlands and none at all in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. The Western was fifth from the bottom in the Which?

survey, with 9Mbps. Meanwhile, an innovative new community scheme has improved the speed of broadband in one part of rural Inverness-shire. Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust have managed to get a wireless signal to a new broadband station above Stratherrick to allow every home which could see the aerial to get connected.

Depute Chair of the Community Trust Sharon Ferguson from Whitebridge said: “Without broadband our children were unable to progress their schoolwork at home and local businesses struggled to run efficiently. “For older people even ordering their groceries on line was impossible and we were really struggling with complaints from visitors.

It used to be that folk wanted to get away from it all on holiday but staying connected is now an essential for some.” Register for our free newsletter 1 More from the Press and Journal References ^ Register for our free newsletter (www.pressandjournal.co.uk)

Aberdeen residents’ battle for superfast broadband drawing to a close 0

Aberdeen residents’ battle for superfast broadband drawing to a close

A long-running saga over superfast broadband in an Aberdeen suburb might finally be coming to an end. Charleston was due to have fibre optic internet by the end of March but delays have pushed the service back a number of months. BT admitted in April that it needed permission to install equipment from Stewart Milne homes to enable them to provide the upgrade to residents.

It is understood that BT Openreach has now received approval, known as a wayleave, to carry out the work. Cove and Altens Community Council has been campaigning on behalf of residents for the service for a number of years. The group had said previously that the process to get fibre broadband for the area had been long and drawn out.

The community council has been working with Cove, Kincorth and Nigg councillor Stephen Flynn to secure the service and a petition was backed by 250 people.

Cllr Flynn also conducted his own survey of residents, which showed 98% of the 59 people who took part wanted the service to be made available.

He said: “It’s great that the developer has now confirmed that the wayleave has been signed and, to any reasonable observer, there doesn’t appear to be any reason why Openreach can’t push ahead and get this work finished. “The residents, as well as Councillor Alex Nicoll and myself, have been made promises in the past that the work would be completed and these have never materialised. “It’s now time for Openreach to finish the job which should have been started, and finished, years ago. “The people of Charleston have had to put up with delay after delay for far too long.” An e-mail from BT Openreach said: “We have all of the design and planning work completed so will be ready to go once they can sign the wayleave.”

Better internet would give USD 25 bln boost to Scotland 0

Better internet would give USD 25 bln boost to Scotland

Faster and more reliable broadband and mobile connectivity could give the Scottish economy a USD 25 billion boost by 2024, according to a study by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), as reported by ISPreviews. The study showed how the most productive local authority areas (LA) in Scotland (Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire) are 50 percent more productive than the least productive (Shetland Islands). CBI Scotland then calculated what the economic impact would be by 2024 if each local area were to improve at the same rate as the top performer, before explaining how this could actually be achieved.

CBI gave a number of recommendations for the the Scottish government, namely to prioritise the completion of existing transport infrastructure commitments on time and to continue improving connectivity between Scotland’s City Deal Regions and with key markets across the UK. The government should also reduce journey times within local areas. Good infrastructure would lift productivity by giving businesses access to a greater pool of skills and talent.

Also, government should pursue the eventual abolition of Scottish Air Passenger Duty to give Scotland an edge in the global marketplace for investment, tourism and trade and ensure digital connectivity is integrated into all future infrastructure planning and development decisions.

The government should also work with the private sector and provide the funding necessary to deliver its commitment of ensuring that every business in Scotland is able to access superfast broadband by 2021.

Finally, it should increase the availability and improve the reliability of broadband coverage on public transport to help reduce productivity loss during travel.