Scotland is set to receive £68.8 million from the UK Government to help roll-out broadband to rural communities in Scotland.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore welcomed the news from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The current Scottish Government will decide on how to use the money to support broadband access. Moore called on the Scottish Ministers to match the funding to ensure 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Scotland could have access to the internet.
The Secretary of State said:
“This is a major investment in rural broadband for Scotland. It means nearly £70 million of UK Government investment will go into improving the connectivity of rural areas. The Scottish Government should match the funding and help provide our rural communities with the broadband services they need so badly.
“Broadband provides a key lifeline for businesses and individuals and is long overdue in communities stretching from the Borders to the Highlands & Islands. This Government is investing in a change for the better and I hope the Scottish Government will follow that example.
“Bringing a minimum connection speed to rural areas has the potential to transform the way and interact with the rest of the world. It opens up a wide range of possibilities, from the way we do business to the way people access their public services. It is also a key factor in determining future investment in rural areas, including initiatives such as the provision of local TV services.
“Rural Scotland has previously been left behind in the race to improve internet access and speeds but this money will help make it viable for the private sector to invest in these areas. In challenging economic times, it makes sense to put government funding into initiatives like this which well help spur on the economy and job creation in rural areas.”
The funding is part of the UK Government’s £530 million broadband investment fund, designed to ensure the UK has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses having access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.
The allocations made today are based on need - the Government has looked at the areas where the market will fail to deliver superfast broadband to enough premises on its own, and the cost of that. It is not based on the number of people living or working in a county.