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CONNECTIVITY


CityFibre is bringing transformative full fibre and 5G connectivity to Scotland


Full fibre key to green recovery


BY ELAINE DOHERTY


The Scottish Government has made it clear that it aims to put green jobs at the heart of the economy and has set a net zero target by 2045. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has trans- formed the way we live and work, forcing us all to rely on digital con- nectivity like never before. And, even when our lives slowly return to something closer to normal, the digital genie cannot be put back in its bottle and it will form a pivotal role in helping governments across the world meet their climate targets. As we live with the effects of the virus for the foreseeable future, the rapid rollout and adop- tion of full fibre is the single most important element in Scotland’s economic recovery. Without this critical infrastruc- ture we won’t be able to take full


advantage of the opportunities that a fully-fledged digital econ- omy will create. Te speed and reliability of full fibre networks far outstrips those currently avail- able. For example, the current average download speed avail- able to homes in Aberdeen on the existing copper network is 36 Mbps. With full fibre, homes and businesses will be able to achieve upload and download speeds of 1,000 Mbps, allowing them to live and work more efficiently and productively, unconstrained by legacy infrastructure. Te network will be greener, consum- ing far less power than current systems, and will be much more reliable. Our aspiration should not be to


simply keep up with other coun- tries that have surged ahead in their own rollouts of full fibre; it should be to surpass them. Tis is


an opportunity for Scotland and the UK to lead, to usher in an era of world-class digital infrastruc- ture; low carbon, low latency and software defined. With this in mind, we wel-


comed the Scottish Government’s recent Infrastructure Commission report, which concluded that “the Scottish Government should provide the leadership required to ensure the delivery of a full fibre network for Scotland by 2027 to enable the transition to 5G across the whole of Scotland.” Achieving nationwide cover-


age means completing one of the biggest engineering programmes in our history, rolling out new full fibre networks to every street in every city, town and village in the country. To do this will require unique collaboration and creativity on the part of industry, Government and the regulator to remove deployment and invest- ment barriers. Te good news is that the pace is quickening across the industry and full fibre con- tinues to attract investor support for incumbents and for rapidly scaling players like CityFibre. Te fruits of this investment are


now starting to come through too, with the UK’s first full fibre cit-


FUTURESCOT | WINTER 2020/21 | 65


ies coming online. Tis includes constructing full fibre networks to practically every home and business in Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Dundee, with further network builds in Fort William, Wick and Turso set to bring full fibre to 150-plus public sector sites in the Highlands. Tis represents a private investment currently totalling over £440m from CityFibre in Scotland’s digi- tal infrastructure. But while there is progress to


be proud of, this is no time for complacency. To complete the job, we will all need to go even faster and build even smarter. We are up for the challenge and


ready to play our part in a bold effort to make full fibre for all a reality across Scotland. l


Elaine Doherty, Regional Lead – Scotland & North East of England


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