More help for Aberdeenshire’s rural communities to get connected

Openreach wants more rural communities across Aberdeenshire to sign up for to its Community Fibre Partnershipscheme.
Openreach wants more rural communities across Aberdeenshire to sign up for to its Community Fibre Partnershipscheme.

Openreach has urged more Aberdeenshire communities to consider joining its Community Fibre Partnership scheme.

More than 100,000 premises across the UK are now part of the programme, where the digital network business splits the cost of installing faster broadband with the local community.

The milestone includes nearly 6,000 households and businesses in Scotland, where 46 partnerships are now live and another 13 are in build – meaning the average size of the community to benefit is only around 100 premises.

In many cases, the local contribution can be partly or entirely covered by broadband vouchers, like the UK Government’s new £200 million UK-wide Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) Programme.

Rural premises with current broadband speeds of less than 30Mbps can now use vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and up to £1,500 per residential premise, to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections.

The CFP scheme is available to any community, particularly properties that have not yet been not included in any existing private or publicly subsidised upgrade schemes.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director for Scotland, said: “Our Community Fibre Partnership programme is bringing fast, reliable broadband to some of Scotland’s most challenging areas which other providers struggle to reach.

“We’ll never say no to any community that wants better connectivity – and we’ll work with them to find a way forward even if the costs don’t stack up for a commercial or government-backed upgrade. It builds on the work we’re doing ourselves, and in partnership with the public sector across Scotland.

“We hope that the success of the programme so far, coupled with the more flexible new voucher scheme, will encourage even more communities to work with us. If you’re one of the few still not in a plan, now’s the time to get in touch.”

Openreach is using a mix of technologies to deliver the CFP programme, but primarily the latest ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology providing broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Once the infrastructure is installed, residents can place an order for the new faster services with a provider of their choice. Openreach provides the telephone and broadband network used by the likes of Sky, BT and TalkTalk, giving people the choice of a range of broadband products and packages.

Across the UK, more than 930 communities have now signed up to the CFP programme, which is available to communities not included in any current roll-out plans for high speed broadband or to those who have fibre broadband but want even faster speeds. Nearly 600 are now connected to fibre broadband.