A new digital engagement team has been created to help local residents, businesses and communities get better broadband.
The three-person team – funded by the Aberdeen City Region Deal – are on hand to provide advice, guidance and support in using various programs to achieve super-fast broadband (30Mbps).
The Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) scheme aims to have all premises in Scotland on superfast broadband by the end of March 2022, and the Digital Engagement team is committed to supporting every resident of the North East in this trip.
You can find more information about the R100 program at www.scotlandsuperfast.com
The team also works closely with local and national telecom operators to develop the best solutions for each region of Aberdeenshire.
With access to property-level data on connectivity, the digital engagement team can ensure all options are explored for every location in the region, which could mean full fiber broadband , fixed wireless broadband, satellite broadband or mobile broadband.
Current plans mean that 16,055 premises in Aberdeenshire will be connected to full fiber broadband until the end of 2027.
To receive super-fast broadband now, each of these properties has a £400 bridging voucher, as part of R100, to get a temporary, super-fast broadband solution while they wait for their full fiber installation.
These vouchers must be used before March 31.
An additional 7,097 properties were not included in planned full fiber broadband deployments.
These properties are all eligible to use a £5,000 principal voucher, as part of R100, for a more permanent superfast broadband solution and there is currently no deadline for principal vouchers.
When redeeming a voucher, a carrier of your choice will claim the voucher on your behalf to cover the installation costs of a superfast broadband solution.
To claim this voucher, they must install a solution that guarantees you 30 Mbps.
Then, you will have to subscribe to the operator for your internet services for a minimum period of 12 months.
In line with Ofcom’s recommendations on affordability, monthly costs can’t exceed £46.10 per month for superfast speeds, but if you go for a plan over 30Mbps, carriers may charge you more.
In addition to the R100, the UK government offers the Gigabit Project and the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS).
This scheme aims to help rural premises across the UK obtain gigabit-enabled broadband solutions and the voucher scheme can offer up to £1,500 per residential premises or up to £3,500 for business premises.
These vouchers can be used in conjunction with R100 vouchers, which effectively means up to £8,500 grant is available for certain premises.
Councilor Peter Argyle, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “In the digital age, it is essential that our residents and businesses have access to superfast broadband and our engagement team will do their utmost to possible to help communities identify the solutions that work best for them.
“We have nearly 16,000 properties awaiting full fiber broadband installation by 2027, so there is a clear need to install interim packages using the vouchers which must be used by the end of the month of March. I encourage anyone in this position to contact our team urgently.
For links to the program website, details on the different programs, and more information on the different technology options available, please visit: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/business/support-and-advice/communities/Digital-Connectivity/