Delivering a Gigabit revolution in Aberdeen
Thursday, November 29, 2018
CityFibre is on a mission to transform digital connectivity across the UK and ensure we have the infrastructure needed to compete on a global stage. In cities up and down the country, we are building full fibre networks which will deliver next-generation gigabit speed connectivity for businesses and households alike.
As a company we are investing £2.5bn to bring full fibre broadband to five million UK homes and businesses by 2025. Aberdeen is the first city in Scotland to benefit from this ‘fibre to the premises’ programme, delivered in partnership with Vodafone. Construction work is underway in the Granite City, with Stirling, Edinburgh, and Glasgow set to follow suit. And in early 2019, the first homes in Aberdeen will be connected – a major chapter in the city’s digital story.
The reasons for investing in Aberdeen are simple. Firstly, there is a clear and present need for state-of-the-art digital connectivity. For too long, the city has relied on standard connections, which only use fibre cables for part of the journey. Between the local cabinet and premises, data is carried along ageing copper wires, which are notoriously slow and unreliable. The need for genuine full fibre connections – at home and in the workplace – is greater than ever.
Aberdeen rightfully has a global reputation as a leading energy centre, but the recent downturn highlighted the urgent need for diversification. And now, under the leadership of a forward-thinking council, that diversification is being underpinned by fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure.
There is a clear commitment from city leaders to ensure Aberdeen can proudly say it is one of the best-connected cities, not only in the UK or Europe, but across the globe. It is a bold vision, but one that can be achieved.
This investment will benefit the emergent tech sector in Aberdeen too. Opportunity North East (ONE) is partnering with Robert Gordon University and CodeBase to form the ONE Digital and Entrepreneurship Hub, with the aim of developing a vibrant digital cluster. Full fibre will help ensure that the businesses using these hubs are not held back by poor digital infrastructure.
In 2015, Aberdeen became Scotland’s first Gigabit City when we announced plans to develop a full fibre network. Within the first 15 months, we built 82km of full fibre infrastructure from Dyce and Bridge of Don through the city centre and down to Altens and Tullos.
That put full fibre within reach of hundreds of businesses who were able to harness the power of full fibre to enhance their operations. In December 2017, the network was extended to reach a total of 166 key public buildings including schools, council offices, libraries and community centres.
Our most exciting announcement came at the beginning of 2018 when we revealed Aberdeen would be the first city in Scotland to benefit from our ‘fibre to the premises’ programme, representing a further £40m private investment from CityFibre.
Construction work began in the summer, initially in the streets of Kincorth and Northfield. Using our modern build techniques, we have minimised disruption and worked with local stakeholders to ensure a speedy roll-out of our full fibre technology. While the construction work continues across the city, we look forward to connecting the first homes from early 2019 onwards.
Our overriding ambition in Aberdeen is to ensure that almost every home and business is able to access full fibre by 2021. According to economic consultancy Regeneris, full fibre will have a colossal impact in Aberdeen over a 15-year period, unlocking £99m in productivity and innovation and driving £25m in direct economic growth.
Full fibre will give Aberdeen the digital foundation it needs to truly become a Smart City. Residents will be able to adopt ‘smart home’ tech at a far greater level than ever before – improving home entertainment but more importantly transforming the ability to work from home and even monitor the wellbeing of loved ones remotely. On a city-scale, the council will have the connectivity it needs to implement transformative technology, benefiting everything from traffic management to public safety.
And once full fibre becomes ubiquitous across Aberdeen, residents and businesses will realise that the current copper infrastructure – frequently promoted as ‘fibre’ despite being delivered through copper wires – is simply not fit for purpose.
In a few short years, Aberdeen will be a shining example of the power of Gigabit Britain – with full fibre helping to transform the way we work, live and play.
Describe the Aberdeen City Region in three words:
Energised, eclectic and excited (about full fibre).