Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Eileen Graham 01835 826585  Email:

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting and introductions were made. 



Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB)

Presentation by and discussion with Scottish Government DSSB team representatives


2.1       The Chairman welcomed Scottish Government representatives: Programme Director for Digital Scotland, Sara Budge; Senior Stakeholder Manager for Digital Scotland, Fiona Muir, Deployment Lead for Scottish Government, Rachael Darroch and Programme Director for Openreach, James Carsley.  In 2014, the DSSB programme set out to ensure that, when combined with commercial coverage, 85% of Scottish premises had access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015 and 95% of Scottish premises had access to fibre broadband by the end of Contract 1.  This 85% coverage was the step-change in terms of access to broadband.  The contract required that each local authority area was to have a minimum of 75% coverage.  In the Scottish Borders, a Minute of Agreement had been signed between the Council and Scottish Government in July 2013, with the Council investing an additional £8.4m to increase coverage.  Based on a desktop modelling exercise, indications were that 93.8% of premises would be connected to fibre infrastructure.  This assumed that commercial deployment would be completed as planned.  In total 93.7% (figure to be verified), as at 30 September 2018, of premises were currently connected to the fibre broadband enabled network.  This coverage dealt with access, not speed.  The Thinkbroadband organisation statistics for Scottish Borders as at 1 November 2018 showed 83.9% of premises above 24Mbps speed and 93.81% of premises having partial fibre/full at any time.  There were also a number of constraints at the time of the contract signing, as well as the real complexity and challenges in the Scottish Borders with 80% of structures built using SB local subsidy contribution were classed as very rural and also Borders having some of the longest cable runs in Scotland. 


2.2       The Scottish Borders Progress Coverage showed that structures/installations completed in 56 exchange areas:  Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) at 79; Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) at 38; FTTC CuRe (Copper Rearrangement) existing lines were moved from either an exchange or a cabinet, to a new cabinet at 82.  In the early stage of the Programme, Total Homes Passed (THP) had high returns on the structures deployed with an average of 183 per structure.  As the programme was now in the most challenging areas to deploy, and the change in technology mix of deployment, this return was now much reduced (around 30 to 40 premises per structure) - the more rural, the more challenging the build.  At times, a decision was made to go slower with the build to ensure the best value option was made.  Due to the rurality of the build and technology required to deliver to hard to reach places, it was often much more expensive, and when instances occurred of the cost breaching a contractual threshold, these had to be referred to Scottish Government for approval, with detailed costing provided to allow informed decision making.  This had both a cost and time impact on delivery.  In terms of the speed, Scottish Borders progress showed 36,500 premises had been connected to fibre infrastructure by DSSB, with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.



Scottish Borders Council

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