More than 800,000 premises in Scotland can now access superfast broadband
The Scottish Government is on track to meet its commitment to 95 per cent broadband coverage by the end of 2017
Digital Scotland map - Image credit: Holyrood
More than 800,000 premises in Scotland can now access superfast broadband, the Scottish Government has announced.
The Scottish Government says it is on target to meet its commitment to 95 per cent of homes and businesses in Scotland having access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017, after 34,000 more connections were made in the last six months.
The £428m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband scheme is delivering two projects – one led by the Scottish Government and the other by Highlands and Islands Enterprise – to ensure that areas of Scotland that would not have received high-speed broadband through commercial rollout have the option of better connectivity.
More than 8,700km of new cable has been laid by Openreach engineers, who are carrying out the work for both projects, and 4,100 additional street cabinets are now live.
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Funding for the project has come from the UK Government’s Broadband Delivery UK, BT, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.
Once 95 per cent coverage is achieved, contracts for a further scheme, the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, are expected to be awarded in 2018 with a view to connecting the remaining five per cent and meeting the Scottish Government’s commitment to 100 per cent coverage by 2021.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Fast internet connection is vital to the economic and social wellbeing of our rural communities, supporting businesses and improving lives of local people.
“Last year we made faster progress than any other part of the UK and we are on track to meet our Programme for Government commitment of 95 per cent coverage by the end of this year.
“However, these upgrades are not automatic. I would encourage more people to check whether they are eligible on the DSSB website and contact a service provider of their choice to start receiving faster broadband.
He added: “I am not complacent – I am aware that those who do not have access are at a disadvantage and our job is not done until everyone is connected.
“We are now focussing on the next steps to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2021.”
UK Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: "I'm delighted that more than 800,000 Scottish homes and businesses have now had their internet speeds boosted as part of our UK-wide rollout of superfast broadband.
“By the end of this year 95 per cent of UK properties will have access to superfast speeds, but more needs to be done to make sure no-one is left behind.
"We know just how important broadband is in the digital age, and we'll continue to support Digital Scotland delivering on the ground so that by 2020 everyone in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, will have access to a fast, reliable and affordable internet connection."
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