Council extends use of wireless radio network

Councillors this week approved the extension of a contract which delivers the council’s wireless radio network to public sector sites across Aberdeenshire.

A network of wireless radio connections have, for a number of years, been providing the connectivity required by schools, libraries and offices.

This sits alongside the City Region Deal (CRD) digital workstream, which has within it a project to deliver gigabit-capable fibre connections to around 200 public sector sites in Aberdeenshire. The £11.5 million CRD investment will bring an expectation that the company or companies that build this infrastructure will fund additional capacity to be sold on to retail service providers who will in turn sell services to business and residential users.

Meanwhile, opportunities are being explored to find out what might be available in the areas of Aberdeenshire not predicted to be reached by this CRD investment.

The Council will continue to look at any way in which its existing network requirements and investments can be leveraged to support communities, groups and buildings which do not have access to suitable broadband themselves.

This week, the Business Services Committee of Aberdeenshire Council, approved extending the scope of the current wireless radio contract, in order to continue to provide the necessary network services to sites for the next three years.

Chair of the Committee, Cllr Jim Gifford said: “Every community across Aberdeenshire has an interest in the expansion of the technology available to them. Council services, businesses and residents alike. There are a number of threads which all weave together and the cumulative impact of all the different strands of work will mean an improved level of digital service. The discussion at the meeting was roundly supported by Elected members and I was pleased that we were in a position to endorse the report which helps us be innovative, forward looking and working in partnership.”

Opposition spokesperson Cllr Richard Thomson said: “I very much welcomed this report, and it is reassuring to see the ways the investment confirmed and the CRD investment support each other. Beyond this, I would like us to look at any ways in which we might make be able to use our hilltop network to help deliver better broadband access and greater community benefits, particularly in rural parts of Aberdeenshire. To start by identifying gaps and working together with the service and providers to explore our options would be a great start.”