More than 90 per cent of Scotland has access to superfast broadband
Connectivity in the Highlands and islands still lags behind the national average
Telephone box in Oykel Bridge, Sutherland - Image credit: Phillip Capper via Wikimedia Commons
More than 90 per cent of premises in Scotland now have access to superfast broadband.
Over 750,000 Scottish homes and businesses can connect to fibre broadband through the £428m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
In the Highlands and islands the coverage is slightly below average, at 84 per cent, with coverage in the region expected to reach 86 per cent by the end of the year.
Digital Scotland is being delivered through two projects, which are led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland.
Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.
- Additional £15.6m to be invested back into superfast broadband
- More than 700,000 homes connected to superfast broadband through Digital Scotland scheme
- £17.8m funding for Scotland in UK Government cash boost for superfast broadband
Commenting on progress, Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The programme is reaching more communities than originally planned and will continue to do so in the coming months.
“However, local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.
“I am of course aware that many homes and businesses do not yet have access.
“Under the further R100 contract, we will be proceeding with the next phase of our pledge to enable access to broadband for every home and business to Scotland within the lifetime of this Scottish Parliament.”
The Scottish Government has pledged that all homes and businesses in Scotland will have superfast broadband available to them by 2021 with an interim target of 95 per cent by the end of this year.
However, Audit Scotland report last year warned that with the easier areas connected first, those left to complete are some of the most challenging.
Regarding the Highlands and islands, he said: “The Highlands and Islands project is one of the most challenging broadband infrastructure roll-outs in Europe.
“When it started only four per cent of the region’s premises could access next generation broadband.
“Every day roll-out reaches increasingly remote communities and smaller and smaller groups of homes, including locations like the island of Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides, and villages like Lonmore and Roskhill in Skye.”
“The Scottish Government is committed to delivering 100 per cent superfast broadband access across Scotland by 2021 and plans are currently being developed to ensure that this is the case.
“During the summer months our existing programme will continue to advance across the country, bringing high speed broadband to new rural communities.”
The Scottish Government is on track to meet its commitment to 95 per cent broadband coverage by the end of 2017
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