The UK’s fastest broadband, 35 times faster than the UK average, is being made available to residents and businesses moving into Aberdeen’s largest new town.
Countesswells Development Limited (CDL), which is bringing forward the £800million new community at Countesswells, has signed an agreement for internet service provider Grain to provide hyperfast broadband to the site with the potential of rolling it out to other homes and business across the city region, but particularly in Kingswells where half the homes are unable to access superfast broadband.
Countesswells will be the first community in Scotland to have access to 1Gbps. This means that a 4k movie, which would typically take eight hours to download, will take just over ten minutes.
Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East, welcomed the news, saying: “Improving digital infrastructure is key to the future success of our region’s economy. Ultrafast connectivity can be harnessed to grow existing businesses; attract further investment; create new businesses; and enhance the area’s attractiveness as a place to live and work.
“This helps to create competitive advantage for North East Scotland and is aligned with the renaissance vision for the region as a place with a broad and strong business base that supports high quality employment.”
Countesswells project director, Jim Fitzsimons said: “Digital infrastructure and broadband speeds are shockingly poor in this part of the world. Private, as well as public, sector investment is required to improve our digital connectivity. As part of our vision to make Countesswells the most connected community in Scotland, we made the decision to install the best fibre network at the out-set.
“We’ve been able to install the fibre, along with the work on existing and new roads, which makes it relatively cost-effective. The wider region can benefit from what we’ve already done, but rolling it out more widely will require support from the public sector.”
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the announcement. Russell Borthwick, chief executive, said: “This is welcome news following the recent Centre for Cities report that placed Aberdeen as 64th, out of 64, UK cities in terms of our ultrafast broadband and the fact that we don’t even feature in the Tech Nation 2017 study.
“The public and private sectors must work together to provide the connectivity we need to deliver our ambitious economic diversification plans and it is encouraging to see the forward-thinking and innovative partnership that has been created at Countesswells.”
Ducting for the fibre network is being installed across the site as part of the major enabling infrastructure works that began last year. Grain’s fibre network will therefore be ready and waiting the day residents move into their homes, enabling hyperfast broadband and a crystal clear fibre telephone connection.
Countesswells also has Sky on board, giving residents the option to get the television package at a discounted price while avoiding the need for external satellites on homes.
Rich Robinson, managing director of Grain, said: “Once we have the set up the network at Countesswells we will look into solutions for residents at Kingswells to try to solve the broadband problem that they are experiencing. Ultimately, our hyperfast broadband could be accessible right across the city.
“Over the past ten years we have developed a 100% fibre network which provides a unique fibre path from every living room, uncontended by other providers and capable of providing broadband speeds over 1Gbps.
“Grain’s network is actively managed to ensure that no matter what the demand is, every customer gets a smooth congestion free connection.”