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Digital Scotland - Helping businesses go faster

For those not familiar with the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme, the Scottish Government and its partners are busy installing the infrastructure required to bring faster internet speeds across Scotland, in areas which weren't going to be included in the private sector's commercial plans.

£410 million is being invested in the DSSB programme by the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), BT, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.

The DSSB roll-out consists of two projects:- one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland.

The principles behind the programme involve bringing faster speeds to as many people as possible with the funding available.

This is a really complex and challenging engineering project.  In fact, it's the most ambitious fibre infrastructure project yet undertaken in Europe.

Why fibre broadband?

Broadband is a way of connecting to the internet.  Fibre broadband differs from basic broadband in that it's much faster in terms of the data it can transfer so, if your home or business is connected to fibre broadband it's much easier to perform tasks that involve a lot of data- like transferring large files or downloading a film.

Where will the programme deliver fibre broadband?

Projections showed that only 66% of Scotland would be covered commercially by the end of 2017.  With the DSSB programme building on this, it's anticipated that by the end of March 2018, around 95% of premises in Scotland will be able to connect to high speed fibre broadband.

What's the situation today?

The programme is on track and more than 660,000 premises are able to connect to fibre broadband as a direct result of the DSSB programme. 

If you include commercial rollouts, in total more than two million Scottish premises can now access a high speed fibre-based service.

What impact is the programme having locally?

To date around 21,000 premises in North Lanarkshire are able to connect to fibre broadband.  Nearly 16,000 of these homes and businesses are capable of receiving speeds of 24 Mbps or over, thanks to the programme.

A fantastic opportunity for growth...if you switch

It's been predicted that the economy should receive a £20 benefit for every £1 invested in the DSSB programme.  This undoubtedly presents a fantastic opportunity for the future of Scotland.  The ways in which businesses benefit from this new technology are numerous.

Greater efficiency

Faster speeds mean less stress.  From downloading large files via Dropbox to uploading tender submissions.

This is certainly the case for solicitors and estate agents Rollos where fibre broadband is having a huge impact.  Within the business, routine online tasks can now be completed in a fraction of a time which has increased their productivity enormously.  Rollos can now process work much more efficiently and communicate with clients and other solicitors, making the business run more smoothly. 

More flexibility

Faster speeds mean a more reliable virtual private network allowing managers and their teams to connect to office files and systems while on the move.

Significant cost savings

Fibre broadband also opens up more online data storage options, dramatically reducing computer hardware costs.  It also allows for increased access to hosted applications and software and lower licensing overheads.  The reliability of online video conferencing to communicate also reduces call costs.  Some companies switch over to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony and experience a dramatic cost saving.

Better business relationships

A more robust internet connection means that many companies are connecting with customers and suppliers face-to-face via buffer-free FaceTime and Skype, to help build more personal relationships.

A more motivated team

Fibre broadband makes it possible to make use of interactive online training for staff, helping create even more highly trained and motivated teams.

Having motivated staff is a vital component of business success, and with fibre broadband- staff can make the most of the internet for personal use during breaks.

Having access to superfast fibre broadband is likely to add to their satisfaction at work.

However, in order to reap these benefits you'll need to contact your internet service provider to switch to fibre broadband, as upgrades over to the new network are not automatic.

Prices for a high speed fibre broadband connection are far lower than you might imagine.  In fact, sometimes the cost can be even less than a standard broadband connection.