First Minister launches rural broadband scheme

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 24 August 2015 in News

Application stage for Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) broadband scheme opens

A new support scheme, set to help Scotland’s rural communities acquire super-fast broadband, has been launched by the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that the application stage for the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) broadband scheme is open on a visit to Oban.

The £9m fund is to contribute to community projects seeking to establish superfast broadband services in areas that are unlikely to be served by the Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which seeks to reach 95 per cent of Scotland by the end of 2017.

“This scheme takes the available funding for community broadband projects up to £16.5 million in Scotland, over and above the £400million DSSB investment," said Sturgeon.

"It is another step to achieving the Scottish Government’s aim of delivering world class connectivity by 2020 and, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere, using any device.”

The projects will be delivered by the Community Broadband Scheme (CBS) and are to be reminiscent of the GigaPlus Argyll initiative, where eight island and mainland communities on the west coast of Scotland joined forces in a community-led initiative.

Chairman of GigaPlus Argyll, Moray Finch, said: “Broadband connectivity in the GigaPlus Argyll area is poor, with speeds less than 2 Mbps, and our communities on the islands and Craignish peninsula are outside the reach of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband fibre scheme.

"By getting together with CBS, we have been successful in securing tenders and appointing a company specialising in the installation and operation of wireless superfast broadband which will deliver affordable services to 1,400 homes and businesses, opening up huge opportunities for us.”

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