Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes


Contact: Jenny Wilkinson Tel: 01835 825004 Email: 

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to continue a dialogue with the Council, Digital Scotland and Community Broadband Scotland, to establish the main issues for broadband provision in Berwickshire.



Broadband Provision in Berwickshire


2.1       The Chairman invited Duncan Nisbet, Senior Stakeholder Manager with Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme (DSSB), to give a presentation to the meeting on progress with the Superfast Broadband programme.  Scotland’s digital vision was “For Scotland to become a world class digital nation requires that people living, working and visiting Scotland can communicate and connect instantly using any device, anywhere, anytime”.  This vision was underpinned by a future-proofed digital infrastructure.  The aim of the DSSB programme was to increase fibre broadband to around 95% of homes and businesses across Scotland by the end of 2017.  Community Broadband Scotland would support community led solutions in remote and rural areas where the marked or Superfast Broadband programme did not go.  Phase II of the Superfast Broadband programme aimed to extend superfast broadband beyond 95% of homes and businesses.  To improve mobile connectivity, the aim was to extend 4G mobile coverage beyond commercial plans while supporting 5G infrastructure requirements.  These projects were about connectivity and not speed.  There were a number of infrastructure constraints for broadband.  The DSSB programme was an intervention project to address market failure and fund the gap between commercial cost and actual cost.  There were few providers at the infrastructure level and while commercial coverage in Scotland stood at 66%, in the Scottish Borders as a whole it was 39%, but this did not cover Berwickshire which had no commercial coverage.  There was currently no Universal Service Obligation, although that was under discussion.  The programme had to comply with State Aid criteria which meant costs were shared with the supplier, the programme was technology neutral, had open access, and promoted re-use of existing infrastructure where possible. 


2.2       DSSB was one of the biggest programmes in Europe, just over half-way though delivery, reaching 590k premises so far.  By March 2018 current expectations showed indicative coverage for Scottish Borders to be 87%.  Solutions were also being deployed to address connectivity issues with exchange only lines.  Ofcom Scotland figures for June 2015 showed 73% access across Scotland to superfast broadband.  Speed tests and further information for the Borders area could be found at   Details of the status of each area within the Scottish Borders – accepting orders, coming soon, planned area, in contract/scope, exploring solutions - could be found on the Digital Scotland website.  If an exchange was showing green on the interactive map then this meant there was some connectivity to properties in the area, but did not necessarily mean all were connected.  There was an issue with ‘exchange only’ lines which required a complex re-design of the cabinets.  Gainshare was built in to the contract whereby if BT made more profit from the contract than anticipated, this money could be clawed back for reinvestment.  Scottish Borders was one of the 5 priority areas for this reinvestment and it was anticipated that the outcome of the modelling currently underway would be available late 2016 which would then be the subject of a public consultation.  Mr Nisbet then referred to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.



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