Rural areas in scotland “Must seize Broadband opportunity”
UK Government announces plan to put “digital hub” in every community
Rural areas in Scotland are set to benefit from Westminster’s commitment to the next phase of superfast broadband plans.
The UK Government has pledged to invest £830 million in the strategy with the aim of ensuring the UK has the best broadband network in Europe by the end of the next Parliament in 2015.
Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future was published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier this week and sets out a plan to create a reliable and secure broadband network across the country.
Proposals include the creation of a digital hub in every community by 2015 and sets out how, for communities which cannot access a good level of connectivity, public investment will be used to support existing broadband development plans.
The plan will also invest £50 million in a further wave of projects to test how to deliver superfast broadband to remote and rural areas - one of the first four pilots announced earlier this year included Highlands & Islands. It is hoped supplier will begin to roll-out upgraded infrastructure within a year, allowing internet service providers to use those network to offer affordable service to homes and businesses.
The Government aims to see all homes receiving a 2 Mbps broadband service by 2015 and as many as possible benefitting from superfast broadband.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said:
“Rural areas across Scotland should welcome this initiative, which will help bridge the digital divide and give local communities access and security of service in the future within just a few years. Rural areas have been left behind too long and we must seize this opportunity to give them online services suitable for the 21st century.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office David Mundell said:
“The superfast network is a major piece of infrastructure and a priority across the country. Those Scots living outside our urban areas understand all too well how important it is to have reliable, fast connections whether for business or in the home. I welcome this new phase of work to improve the broadband network which will not only benefit our economy but improve life in rural Scotland at the same time.”
BT has recently announced it will contribute further funding to supplement any public money it wins for the roll-out of rural broadband.
“Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future” is available at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills website.
The Government’s £830 million investment consists of £530 million by 2015 confirmed in the spending review in October, and £300 million by 2017 as part of the TV licence fee settlement. It is intended to stimulate additional private investment.