There have been a number of queries in recent weeks regarding timescales for the introduction of Superfast Broadband in Kingswells. The current position has become less than clear, but with the one certainty being that this will be delivered … eventually.
Aberdeen City Council were successful in that the total funding which would have delivered this service to Kingswells and other parts of Aberdeen, along with city centre wi-fi, was approved by UK Government. Unfortunately it has transpired that the previously approved funding package would breach EU State Aid rules and is undeliverable in the manner originally envisaged.
With regard to the wider scheme, Council officers and civil servants continue to work together to devise a scheme which is compliant with State Aid rules or an alternative funding mechanisms which can deliver specific parts of the original project.
The outcome for Kingswells is slightly more positive, but less helpful than we would all like. Kingswells falls under the “rural” classification and, as such, does not contravene State Aid rules. Administration of the fund for the roll out of Superfast Broadband services in rural areas has been passed directly to the Scottish Government. They have yet to announce when Kingswells will receive the improved service, but the timescale for the programme, UK wide, is 2014-2018.
Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m sure many people will be as disappointed as I am with this set back. I would have expected the eligibility criteria under State Aid rules to have been checked out by civil servants prior to the commencement of the bidding process”.
“The previous commitment to upgrade Kingswells in 2015 may very well have slipped but this is currently unclear. What is certain is that Kingswells will get Superfast Broadband within a defined timescale and this is more than can be said for some parts of Aberdeen”.
“The outcome is positive overall, but it remains unacceptable that you can get a faster broadband connection in Afghanistan than you can in Kingswells”.