City Fibre, the leading provider of wholesale full-fibre infrastructure in the UK, recently announced the completion of its primary build of Gigabit ready broadband in Inverness. The project provides future-proof Gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure which has been rolled out to residential areas, schools, libraries, offices, hospitals, health centres and university campuses. Over 150 public sector sites across Inverness, Fort William, Thurso and Wick have been connected.
Allan McEwan, Area Manager at City Fibre, thanked local communities and the Highland Council along with other key partners for their support through the rollout, “Inverness is a city filled with opportunity and ambition, which is why it has always been such an important build for us. Full fibre is vital for the UK’s long-term growth, and we look forward to building on our previous success powering the city’s future economic development.”
Investment in full-fibre infrastructure, like that provided by City Fibre in Inverness, is helping to ensure that Scotland remains at the forefront of technological innovation and economic growth with Gigabit ready infrastructure. High speed broadband is fundamental infrastructure to enhance the overall delivery of public services in Scotland and will allow Inverness-based businesses and communities to enjoy affordable, Gigabit-capable, and reliable full fibre broadband.
What does Gigabit ready broadband mean?
Gigabit-capable broadband means that the download speeds will be at least 1 Gigabit-per-second (1 Gbps or 1000 megabits per second, Mbps), and it could be via broadband or potentially 5G services. As an example, when downloading films, at 1 Gigabit-per-second download speed, it would take less than 1 minute. This is over 10 times faster than the current average download capability.
In comparison, less than 10 years ago, the same film download would have taken 20 minutes or much longer with slower services. Consumers and businesses will continue to rely upon and expect faster speeds.
How fast is Scotland compared to other countries?
According to the M-Lab and Cable.co.uk’s 2022 report published September 2022, the UK ranked 35th out of 220 countries, with 72.06Mb/s speed. The Scottish Government has set a target of providing superfast broadband to 100% of Scottish premises (target date 2028). Since the beginning of 2022 to January 2023, Scotland’s Gigabit ready broadband coverage has grown from 59.9% to 67.2% (with England growing from 67% to 74.3% in the same period).
Inverness’s Gigabit ready speeds, which are ready to service over 90% of its residential properties, along with business, key public sector and community sites will help attract key business and services which require reliable high speed to help ensure their prosperity. In turn, it should help Scotland leap ahead and stay near the top of global broadband speed rankings for years to come.
Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said: “The transformation of Inverness into a full fibre city is a hugely welcome step towards ensuring the Highlands thrive today and tomorrow, with a successful Inverness City at its heart. This commercial investment from City Fibre has been instrumental in sparking competition, encouraging wider investment and ensuring broadband users across the region get a better deal when it comes to their connectivity at home
How important is High Speed Broadband?
Inverness, the largest city in the Scottish Highlands, was once a thriving hub for trade, with ships transporting goods such as whisky, wool, and salmon to markets across Europe. Through the 19th century, the expansion of the railway network brought new economic opportunities, and Inverness became a major centre for tourism and the service sector. Following the decline of traditional industries and more recent economic pressures, new investment in the technology and renewable energy sectors have helped diversify its economic base.
High-speed broadband is also becoming increasingly important for the Scottish tourism industry, enabling businesses to reach a wider audience through online marketing and e-commerce. Inverness, known as the “Gateway to the Highlands”, is an important stop for both visitors looking to explore the North Coast 500 route, and those who are interested in the wide range of sights and outdoor activities to enjoy.
As part of the Scotland-wide SWAN programme, which is being delivered in partnership with local authorities and private sector firms like City Fibre, Inverness and other parts of the Highlands are now set to benefit from secure, high-speed broadband. Visitors and residents alike will be able to use Inverness’s high speed broadband services to access information about local attractions, restaurants, events, and activities easily.
Many businesses looking to invest in Scotland benefit from a range of government support and incentives, as well as access to a highly skilled workforce. Scotland also offers a high quality of life, low cost of living, access to beautiful natural surroundings, and a rich cultural heritage. Unparalleled though these factors may be, Gigabit ready broadband is more than just icing on the cake.