The City Region Deal project to connect corporate sites within Aberdeen city to full fibre connectivity is now complete
Monday, March 14, 2022
In 2017 the Business Case for the ‘City Network Extension’ project was approved by Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD) Joint Committee, at a cost of £2m. That funding was complimented by £1.2 million from the capital funds of each council. The project was to extend Aberdeen City Council’s corporate network by a further 57 public sector ‘sites’ in addition to the 120 sites which had already been upgraded to gigabit connections. This means public sector network improvements and also means that homes and businesses can get access to the full fibre, benefitting around 72,000 homes in the city.
The ACRD Joint committee recently approved the ‘close out report’, in essence confirming the project completion.
It is estimated as many as 100 jobs have been created as a result of the investment.
Cllr Jenny Laing is on the Joint Committee and is also the leader of Aberdeen City Council. “The Aberdeen City Council fibre network has been extended to 57 additional sites across the City. This has successfully stimulated private sector investment of up to £40 million by City Fibre and Vodafone. Building on the Council’s fibre network, City Fibre will utilise this to extend and deploy 800km of fibre within Aberdeen City, providing the majority of the City with access to ‘fibre to the premises’ at gigabit speeds. CityFibre’s Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) transformation project is quickly building momentum. Until recently, most businesses and homes were connected through old-fashioned copper wires which was slow and unreliable. With FTTP however digital connectivity and speeds are greatly improved, in turn helping to improve businesses and allowing individuals the greater ability to work from home and stream entertainment.”
The project is now complete and sites that previously had low speed connections, have the ability to work better, and increase their bandwidth if operational needs demand it. In addition to having the flexibility to expand at these sites, they are pro-actively managed in the event of any performance issues.
Cllr Andy Kille is the Joint Committee Chair and Leader of Aberdeenshire Council. He said “It is incredibly significant that we have concluded one of our City Region Deal programmes and the fact that this is a digital programme is equally significant. What we have been prioritising, as a Committee, is projects which have tangible benefits for people. Things which they can see and feel making a difference to how they live and work. It is without question a significant step to be able to secure Aberdeen’s position as a gigabit city. I am confident that the relationship we have developed with City Fibre will also allow them to continue to expand their reach into Aberdeenshire and I am aware that they are exploring sites in Aberdeenshire as we speak”.
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Completion of the City Network Extension is an important landmark in the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
“Significant private sector investment has been attracted through this improved broadband connectivity and speed.
“This will enhance public and private service delivery, bringing long-term benefits to individuals and businesses. The Scottish Government has played its part by providing £2 million funding which is over and above our £125 million contribution to the City Region Deal.”
Allan McEwan, CityFibre’s City Manager for Aberdeen, said: “Thanks to the completion of Aberdeen’s public-sector network, buildings across the city – including schools, libraries and community centres – can now access the fastest, most reliable digital connectivity available. The provision of full fibre to these sites supports increased efficiency in service provision, while opening up opportunities for greater use of technology and flexibility in working.
“The delivery of this project marks an important milestone for us as we work to update the city’s digital infrastructure and make Aberdeen one of the best-connected places in the UK. As well as delivering the public network, we are currently also working across Aberdeen to deliver our £59m private investment project which will bring our full fibre network within reach of almost every home and business in the city.”
Meanwhile the roll out of gigabit connectivity throughout Aberdeenshire is progressing well. The City Region Deal Full Fibre project is connecting Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and NHS sites with gigabit capacity fibre with the project due to be completed in shortly.