The £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is moving forward as 90,000 homes and businesses across 18 Scottish local authorities are set to get fibre broadband.
Their Scottish counterpart is described as “one of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes in the whole of Europe,” as it plans to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to areas not covered by commercial deployment.
Connecting both rural and urban areas in Scotland to high-speed broadband is just one arm of the overall Digital Scotland project, which aims to give the country’s citizens and businesses access to the best digital technology in an economic environment encouraging digital innovation.
This is the latest phase in the superfast broadband scheme, with Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael welcoming the news, claiming it is an important step in connecting communities.
“From Eyemouth to Stromness it’s great to see superfast broadband continue to be rolled across the length and breadth of Scotland,” Carmichael claimed.
“It’s clear how important broadband is for supporting families, jobs and services and for helping our businesses to expand and grow. [The announcement] is another important step in ensuring communities across Scotland are connect to superfast broadband,” he added.
Telecoms giant BT has been responsible for the engineering roll out so far, connecting around 55,000 homes and businesses to fibre Internet already.
It is expected that more than three quarters of a million premises are expected to benefit from the whole roll out in total.
Scotland claims that many areas covered by the latest phase of the programme, including Macduff, Glamis, Kirkwall, Annan, Kinglassie and Portmahomack, will be receiving high speed technology for the first time.
“The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband across Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe,” claimed Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister.
“This is not the limit of Scotland’s ambition. The Scottish government’s aim is the deliver world class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device,” she added.
Funding for Digital Scotland comes from a variety of partners, including the Scottish government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK government via BDUK, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.
Private sector partner BT has also invested £126m.