Aberdeenshire Council is issuing broadband survey postcards to all addresses within the area as part of the council’s work with Scottish Government to access funding to improve Aberdeenshire’s broadband coverage.
Aberdeenshire Council has already agreed to contribute up to £18million to improve broadband services in the area 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.
Residents are being urged to complete and return the postcards to demonstrate that demand exists by Thursday, February 28.
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.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Peter Argyle 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.”
Completed postcards must be returned by February 28. No stamp is required.