Scotland to invest £600m in broadband connectivity

Scotland to invest £600m in broadband connectivity

The Scottish government has confirmed investing £600m in broadband over the next four years to March 2022.

The investment will enable every home and business to have access to superfast broadband by 2021 and the Scottish government announced this allocation in its 2018-19 draft budget.

The announcement marks the commencement of procurement for the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, aimed at delivering fast and reliable internet with focus on rural and island communities.

Gap-funding will be provided for finding suppliers who can connect as many premises as possible for the available subsidy, with access to superfast (30mbps) connections by extending the national fibre network.

The announcement also indicated that the Scottish government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is on track to reach 95% fibre broadband coverage by the end of 2017 and throughout 2018.

Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is the biggest public investment ever made in a UK broadband project. It is a truly transformative moment for our broadband infrastructure and a statement of our intent to make Scotland a world-class digital nation.

“Fast and reliable internet connection is vital for the economic and social well-being of all communities. This ambitious investment – which is more than three times what the UK government is putting towards their own fibre broadband rollout – will revitalise the prospects of rural areas right across Scotland.

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“Building on the success of the Digital Scotland programme, we will deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network that will place rural Scotland among the best connected places anywhere in Europe.

“I am confident that the scale of our investment, and of our ambition, will attract interest from a wide range of telecoms suppliers across the UK and Europe.”

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “I was pleased to use this year’s budget to set out our plans for the future of superfast broadband in Scotland.

“We will put in the money over the next four years to deliver a £600m programme of investment, ensuring every home or business premise in Scotland has access to superfast broadband.”