Heralding digital infrastructure improvements across the Aberdeen City Region
A project has been approved which is being described as one of the biggest investments in digital connectivity in the region.
The Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee met on Friday (9 February), where improvements to regional digital infrastructure were discussed. At that meeting they signed off the terms of a project to extend the full fibre network right across the Aberdeen City Region – making full fibre connections possible for more than 200 sites, and making it easier to connect to that network for thousands more.
What is called the Anchor Tenancy Model has been approved in principle, and will extend the existing fibre network to an additional 212 sites across the city and Aberdeenshire, consisting of 152 public sector facilities and 60 NHS sites across the Aberdeen City Region. To deliver this, the network will pass nearly 12 thousand premises, key industrial and business parks, or over 68 thousand addresses where it is hoped a commercial operator will facilitate access.
The Local Full Fibre Network project will lay the foundations for world class business and residential connectivity, ultimately enhancing the local economy, whilst building the infrastructure to enable more cost effective public services. It is proposed that the fibre network to sites belonging to each of Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council will be funded by City Region Deal monies.
Chair of the City Regional Deal Joint Committee and leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Cllr Jim Gifford said: “The digital infrastructure challenges faced across this region have long been acknowledged. This is an issue of such importance that we identified it as one of six key projects which make up the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
“The Deal provides us with the ideal opportunity to upgrade our infrastructure and it is hoped that this project will ensure that businesses and citizens alike will witness notable changes, along with supporting our regional economy and reinforcing the region’s reputation as a world-class business location.”
Committee Vice Chair, Aberdeen City Councillor Jenny Laing said: “This model will allow the good work which has already got underway in Aberdeen City to be extended out into Aberdeenshire. Our ability to deliver a project on this scale will put us on the global map, for digital developments and for wider investment as it sends a strong signal to the markets.”
The deal was approved in principle, pending agreement to the terms in the business case by UK and Scottish Government. If formally signed off, it is anticipated that procurement would commence April 2018 and take approximately six months, followed by the infrastructure build with a target completion date of around the start of 2021.