New broadband plan for rural Scotland

A new initiative to bring superfast residential and business broadband to rural areas of Scotland has just been launched by Nicola Sturgeon.

The project, which is funded to the tune of £9m, is based on a similar initiative that has already been successful in Argyll. Scotland’s first minister announced this scheme – the Scottish Rural Development Programme – at Oban’s Phoenix Cinema, where a new tourist information kiosk has been installed complete with Wi-Fi.

The model for the scheme is GigaPlus Argyll, which involved eight isolated communities joining forces to ensure that residential and broadband services were delivered to them. Ms Sturgeon said that the Scottish government is now at the halfway point in its project to bring faster services as part of the DSSB (Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband) project. She added that the benefits of faster broadband, both social and economic, are clear, and she hopes that the funding will enable isolated communities to change the way they live and do business.

Community broadband projects are now funded in Scotland to the tune of £16.5m, in addition to the £400m from DSSB. This new project will be run by Community Broadband Scotland.

This news comes as the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in Westminster has begun an inquiry into how broadband is delivered, how it performs and how good coverage really is throughout the UK. Ofcom has revealed that services in Scotland are still lagging behind the UK, with only 73% of premises able to receive superfast broadband.