Aberdeenshire Council is sending postcards to all residents to find out more about the broadband services they have in their area.
Aberdeenshire Council has already agreed to contribute up to £18million to improve Aberdeenshire broadband services, but it must provide evidence of demand from residents and businesses in order to be in the best position to access additional funding from the Scottish Government.
The cards ask 2 questions about Aberdeenshire Broadband, the results will be used by Aberdeenshire Council to demonstrate the demand for better broadband and allow them to bid for extra funding to supply better broadband to communities. Residents are being urged to complete and return the postcards to demonstrate that demand exists by Thursday, February 28.
Councillor Peter Argyle, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee said
Aberdeenshire Council, working with the Scottish Government, is committed to making faster broadband a reality. We recognise that it delivers a host of economic, social and educational benefits as well as enhancing Aberdeenshire’s attraction as a place to live and work.
It is important that residents and businesses help us secure the additional Government funding by returning their broadband survey postcards. They simply need to give their name and postcode and tick one box indicating whether they would like their broadband to be faster, or whether they would like a broadband service if they do not currently receive it.
Completing the postcard does not create any commitment on the part of the business or householder.
Within the UK, rural Scotland’s broadband services are amongst the poorest and in Aberdeenshire, 17% of all addresses have no broadband connection because of infrastructure constraints. This is insufficient to undertake many essential applications such as remote working, online health consultations and video streaming. A further 80% of addresses do not enjoy service speeds greater than 6Mbps (Megabits per second).
The Scottish Government has begun a procurement programme to deliver upgraded infrastructure capable of delivering broadband speeds of at least 24Mbps to 75% of premises in each local authority area by the end of 2015, and a basic service of 2Mbps to the remaining 25%.
Aberdeenshire Council will focus its resources on increasing the minimum speed beyond 2Mbps to prevent further widening of the digital divide.
In addition, the council will invest £2million alongside Aberdeen City Council towards superfast broadband services around the western boundary of Aberdeen and Westhill.