Scottish Government says high-speed broadband is "key priority"
06/07/11 16:58 Filed in: News
The Scottish Government has said that access to the next generation of high-speed is a key priority. The government’s aim is to have “access for all” by 2020.
The Scottish Parliament debate on June 30 highlighted the need for rural Scotland to be included in the digital revolution for high-speed broadband and 4G mobile coverage.
"We want all parts of rural Scotland to have access to next generation broadband to ensure a bright future for our rural economy,” Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead said following the debate. “We believe that a world-class broadband infrastructure will underpin the future of the digital economy in Scotland.
"We have set out our ambition for all of Scotland to have access to next generation broadband by 2020, with significant progress to be made by 2015. Meeting the challenge of delivering this service to rural areas in particular is a key priority of our Digital Strategy.
“The UK Government has allocated £530 million to the rollout of next generation broadband for rural areas. We are working hard to secure the best possible share for Scotland from this.
"Better mobile coverage is also essential. Scotland's 3G coverage is only at around 66 per cent of the population and 41 per cent geographically - well below the UK average.
"We have urged the UK Government to direct Ofcom to increase the obligation for 3G coverage in Scotland, as a large proportion of the areas currently not covered across Britain are in rural Scotland. We wanted 90 per cent of Scotland to be covered, matched to 90 per cent of the UK. But if that's not immediately achievable, then we at least should have a specific target for coverage in Scotland.
"Connecting rural Scotland to a twenty-first century communications network is essential to connect it to the world, bringing benefits to the rural economy and community as a whole."
Fine words, for sure, but, when Kintore residents regularly see their supposedly 8MB broadband falling to 500k, or less, 2020 seems a rather long way away.