That’s the message from Aberdeenshire Council’s Digital Engagement Team which supports north-east residents, businesses and communities to obtain better digital services.
Funded by the Aberdeen City Region Deal, the team is available to provide advice, guidance and support to utilise various programmes to obtain superfast broadband (30Mbps).
For the past year, the team has been engaging closely with local and national telecoms operators to develop the best solutions for every area of Aberdeenshire – helped by Scottish Government vouchers to help obtain a temporary, superfast broadband solution while they wait for their full-fibre installation.
Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) programme will ensure that all premises in Scotland have access to Superfast Broadband through significant improvement in full-fibre broadband infrastructure, as well as provision of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, allowing many residents to receive subsidy support to install a better broadband solution. However, there has only been a 10% take-up of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme in Aberdeenshire, with nearly 6,000 premises still eligible for at least £5,000 worth of subsidy support.
The Digital Engagement Team is keen to get the 6,000 households which haven’t claimed it, to start investigating the possibilities of an improved service, with a range of solutions available.
Digital Stakeholder Lead Officer Jack Rigby explained: “The Digital Engagement Team can ensure all options are explored for every location in the region which could mean full-fibre broadband, fixed wireless broadband, satellite broadband or mobile broadband. With access to a huge amount of data and information, the team is well placed to support any residents in securing better broadband solutions, able to advise in a number of areas.
“Aberdeenshire has one of the best percentage take-ups in Scotland which is tremendous, but we still have several thousand properties which could benefit from the available voucher scheme. Better digital connectivity across Aberdeenshire is embedded at the heart of our Council Plan and is vital for both regional economic development and for our residents and communities.
"It is particularly important that we really start driving forward for better broadband services this year as telecoms operators will be retiring their analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) networks at the end of 2025.”
Paul Macari, Head of the council’s Planning and Economy Service, said: “Since our Digital Engagement Team was formed last year, they have supported over 1,400 households and they will continue to do their utmost to support communities identify the solutions which are best for them. We know there are still around 13,500 properties awaiting full-fibre broadband installation by 2028, which simply highlights the scale of the job ahead.
You can contact the Digital Engagement Team directly via email at: [email protected]