The government has today announced that it is making available a further £32 million of funding to ensure that Scotland is on track with its plans to deliver superfast broadband.
This funding is in addition to £68.8 million that has already been allocated to Scotland for investment in its broadband network, taking the total to over £100 million.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:
In the modern world, where so much business is done online, it is essential that companies across the UK have access to decent internet connection speeds.
This additional funding will help ensure that Scotland has the broadband infrastructure it needs to support its tech industries, and businesses and education across the country.
Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:
We are determined to ensure the whole of the UK can share in the benefits and opportunities the internet offers.
The internet provides huge opportunities for growth by enabling businesses to access new markets and develop new products.
This extra investment will help Scotland develop the infrastructure that businesses need to grow in the digital age.
The Secretary of State Michael Moore said:
Access to superfast broadband means Scottish businesses can expand, develop new markets and compete globally. It also allows local communities to access public services more quickly and efficiently online.
Providing Scotland with high-speed broadband is essential for businesses to grow and to create the new jobs we need. That is why the UK Government believes broadband is essential not only for everyday life, but also for the future economic success of Scotland and the UK.
This additional funding will allow many more premises across Scotland to be given superfast connections to the broadband network, including in the Highlands and Islands where the infrastructure is currently less developed and the costs of connecting additional premises are much higher than other parts of the UK.
Notes for editors
The government is committed to delivering the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of the UK receiving superfast broadband and everyone else to have access to standard broadband with a speed of at least 2Mbps.
Spending Review 2010 allocated £530 million - to be invested over the Spending Review period - to support the UK’s broadband network and to incentivise the roll out of superfast broadband in areas that the private sector could not otherwise reach.
In August 2011, the government confirmed that English counties would receive £294.8 million; Scotland would receive £68.8 million; Northern Ireland would receive £4.4 million; and Wales would receive £56.9 million of funding broadband.
These allocations were made on Broadband Delivery UK’s (BDUK) assessment at the time. However, it was always recognised that modeling the requirements in Scotland were more challenging than in other parts of the UK, owing to the geography and limited existing investment in rural areas. Following further, more detailed modeling - incorporating analysis from Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government - the government has decided to allocate further funding to Scotland.
In May 2012, the Government announced an additional £5.56 million to be allocated to projects in England, including:
- £1.70 million for Devon
- £3.75 million for Herefordshire
- £110,000 for Rutland
The government will also invest £150 million in ‘super-connected cities’ across the UK. Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds & Bradford, Newcastle and Manchester along with the four UK capital cities (including Edinburgh) have all successfully bid to become super-connected cities with ultrafast fixed broadband access, and large areas of public wireless connectivity. Ultrafast means speeds as close to 80-100Mbps as is currently possible. These ten cities will share £100 million of funding. £50 million will be allocated in a second round of bidding.