Aberdeenshire set for connectivity boost after seven-figure deal

Connectivity provider SSE Enterprise Telecoms has been awarded a seven-figure, full-fibre project aiming to improve the delivery of public services to Aberdeenshire and boosting economic activity and quality of life in the area.

The project will 'ensure that the region is fit for the 21st century'. Picture: contributed.
The project will 'ensure that the region is fit for the 21st century'. Picture: contributed.

The £10.5 million contract has been awarded by Aberdeenshire Council and marks a continuation of a 20-year partnership between the two parties. Those to benefit include schools and NHS Grampian.

The 18-month project comes under the banner of the Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD). It is part of a funding allocation designed to improve the region’s digital infrastructure, key to the long-term future of the local economy.

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Funding from the ACRD provides the opportunity to create a sustainable digital infrastructure from which the region can transform into a world-class digital area, the firm added.

Martin Samuel, public sector director at SSE Enterprise Telecoms. Picture: contributed.

It is owned 50:50 by Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Prudential, and SSE Plc. The project is being delivered by SSE Enterprise Telecoms combining its existing extensive fibre network with physical infrastructure access to create a new dark fibre network, allowing for quicker delivery and realisation of economic and social benefits in the area.

The project will provide gigabit dark fibre out to public sector locations such as schools and NHS sites in a number of towns in a belt around Aberdeen. Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian will benefit directly as the users of the fibre to deliver services and improve efficiency.

In addition, SSE Enterprise Telecoms will further invest in the infrastructure and offer capacity and services to mobile operators and internet service providers. This will grow service availability and speeds for residents and businesses in Aberdeenshire. It will also ensure that the region is fit for the 21st century, and will complement the existing gigabit fibre offer in the city.

The end-to-end, full-fibre network will initially connect 189 public sector sites across the region. Residents will benefit from limited disruption, with existing and new fibre pathways used. This will then be supplemented with 130 kilometres of new dark fibre network created to maximise the number of premises served for the budget.

Martin Samuel, public sector director at SSE Enterprise Telecoms, said: “Improving the region’s digital infrastructure is key to the long-term sustainable future of the local economy. In greenlighting this initiative, Aberdeenshire Council is investing for success, not just for now, but for the next 25 years. This access to full-fibre connectivity will help to reduce inequalities and level the playing field for economic, environmental and social progress for Aberdeen and surrounding areas.”

Jim Gifford is chair of the Aberdeen City Region Deal joint committee, and leader of Aberdeenshire Council. He said: “The digital elements of our City Region Deal are among the most important, in terms of helping businesses and communities see a demonstrable change thanks to the deal. I look forward to seeing the benefits [of this milestone] being delivered for the public sector and those companies or communities who access this network.”

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