We at FarrPoint welcome the news from The Scottish Government that it has signed a £384 million contract for The Reaching 100% (R100) programme, bringing superfast broadband to the North of Scotland, including some of the most remote rural and island communities.
The R100 programme is a commitment to provide access to superfast broadband of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) to every home and business in Scotland.
Work to bring superfast broadband to rural northern communities will start in the New Year and will include the laying of 16 new subsea cables, ensuring future-proofed, resilient connections in all island local authorities.
The R100 programme was established in 2017, after the announcement of £600m funding for Scotland's national digital infrastructure. FarrPoint has been providing the programme with technical advice and support during the tender and contract negotiation phase and approval process with additional advice and support with regard to data gathering and analysis.
With 2 out of 3 of FarrPoint’s founding Directors hailing from the Highlands and Islands, they have personal convictions about the importance and impact of connectivity work in rural communities. CEO, Dr Andrew Muir, discussed this topic and his thoughts with The Herald earlier this year, and also recently participated in a Q&A session discussing the different approaches to bridging the Digital Divide in rural areas across the UK and Canada.
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.
"We have also developed plans, in parallel with main infrastructure investment, to ensure our 100% superfast commitment is met with our Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme. This will ensure that everyone can access and benefit from this world-leading digital capability.”
Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of FarrPoint said “We’re delighted to have helped The Scottish Government in progressing their objective to provide access to superfast broadband to every home in Scotland.”
“Places like my home village of Achiltibuie in the north west Highlands is what this is all about and helps drive FarrPoint’s interest in rural communities and the importance of connectivity. Connectivity supports everything that goes on, from school kids being able to do their homework because they need internet access, to small businesses being able to trade online. People also need to access the internet for social reasons and to help sustain communities in so many different ways. It’s an essential bit of infrastructure now and we’re pleased to have made our contribution”
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