Bringing best-in-class connectivity to the Aberdeenshire region - Neos Networks

Bringing best-in-class connectivity to the Aberdeenshire region

When Aberdeenshire Council, NHS Grampian and Aberdeen City Council looked to deliver gigabit-capable connectivity to public sector sites, they turned to Neos Networks to futureproof their digital ambitions.

Full fibre has the power to be transformative for any region of the UK – creating jobs, increasing productivity and supporting remote work. But bringing next generation connectivity to Scotland, one of the most challenging locations anywhere in Europe for telecoms infrastructure, required additional measures in order for the hardest-to-reach areas to gain access to superfast connectivity.

Recognising this, the Government introduced the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, taking the £5bn UK Gigabit Broadband Programme a step further by providing funding of up to £5,000. This helps areas that don’t fall into the scope of either Reaching 100% (R100) contracts, a Scottish initiative committed to providing access to superfast broadband of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) to every home and business, or planned commercial investment.

Under the banner of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, Neos Networks, one of the UK’s leading connectivity providers, was awarded a £10.5m full fibre project by Aberdeenshire Council. This project is the latest collaboration in a 20-year-strong partnership between the two parties and will also benefit Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian as users of the fibre.

Spanning up to 275km, the aim was to underpin a world-class digital area – improving the delivery of public services to the community and boosting economic activity and quality of life.

The challenge

Neos Networks was tasked with connecting 190 public sector sites across Aberdeenshire in a way that will reduce disruptive construction and maximise the number of premises served for the available budget. The region spans up to 275km and, through this project, the Council’s aim was to improve the delivery of public services to the community and boost economic activity and quality of life in the area.

At the core was the need to deliver excellent public services; create new businesses and grow existing ones; attract further investment; support mobility; protect the environment and enhance the area’s attractiveness as a place to live and work.

Additionally, the project needed to 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.

“The £11.5m full fibre project has transformed connectivity to our public sector sites throughout the region. Additionally, it has given the contractor the opportunity to offer services to local businesses and residents to access far better connectivity in areas that were poorly served previously. I was very pleased that as a result, the investment is also delivering significant community benefits which was recognised by winning the Go Awards Social Value Category demonstrating robust and progressive approaches to fair work practices. Having delivered two out of three digital projects funded by the deal, our focus is now on delivering the final phase which will deliver even more digital connectivity in the region.”

Councillor Alex Nicoll, Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader

Neos Networks created a sustainable digital infrastructure that benefits the community in different ways. The project has included a significant commitment to education and training within the local community. Neos Networks has been visiting local schools, delivering work placements, guest lecturing for higher education students and has created seven full-time apprenticeships. In addition, they have held a STEM careers event and ran the Engineering Development Trust Industrial Cadets online programme.

“Working at Neos Networks during my placement has helped me build my skillset and my confidence. Most importantly, I am a step closer to passing my Foundation apprenticeship which will enable me to qualify for my chosen college course and prepare me for my future career.”

Megan, Apprentice

The outcome

Neos Networks has delivered gigabit-capable connectivity to 192 public sector buildings, and the network is within reach of 44,000 homes, and 1,700 business premises across Aberdeen city.

The dark fibre network stretches for some 275km and links six major locations – Aberdeen, Westhill, Stonehaven, Banchory, Inverurie and Ellon as well as the smaller communities in between. The almost limitless capacity of the dark fibre network enables GP surgeries to share records and undertake video consultations, as well as providing better connectivity for remote working and virtual teaching.

“It can be hard to really understand a lot of the scale and aspiration of projects like City Region Deals, but improving connectivity for communities and helping improve public services through better digital connections is something tangible. The benefits of the full fibre network will touch healthcare, schools, homes, businesses in the area and it is so positive to see another project coming to completion under our City Region Deal.”

Cllr Anne Stirling, Aberdeenshire Deputy Leader, and vice-chair of the Joint Committee

This project is part of Neos Networks’ wider mission to provide class-leading connectivity and data centre services that are high performance, cost efficient and offer a competitive edge, coupled with outstanding customer service.