MP launches campaign to make Inverness Scotland’s next ‘gigabit city’
Inverness MP Drew Hendry is calling for the Highland city to get hyperfast fibre broadband
Inverness - Image credit: Adrian Pink via Flickr
SNP MP Drew Hendry is calling for Inverness to be Scotland’s next ‘gigabit city’.
It would mean getting a hyperfast broadband network with speeds of up to 1Gbps, 100 times faster than the UK average.
The MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, who chairs the all-party group on the digital economy at Westminster, said that the capital of the Highlands was often “at the back of the queue” for internet and mobile connections.
Hendry compared the benefits of better digital connectivity to physical connections such as the dualling of the A9 or direct flights to Heathrow or Schiphol.
“Having world class digital infrastructure is just as important,” he explained, adding that it would make Inverness a much more attractive place to do business and create jobs in the digital economy.
Becoming a gigabit city could give the opportunity to redirect other funding into broadband projects in surrounding towns and villages, he said.
“The Scottish Government has already shown ground-breaking ambition by committing to deliver next generation broadband to every premises by 2021,” said Hendry.
“I believe that here in Inverness, one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, we have the potential to improve our internet speed even further.
“We have the opportunity to join capital cities across Europe with reliable and future-proofed networks delivering internet speeds for tomorrow’s needs.
“We are so often at the back of the queue for internet and mobile connections and, too often by the time we get it, the world has already moved on.
“I want this to change. It’s time for us, as the capital of the Highlands, to take the lead and become the next Gigabit City.”
Hendry plans to organise a meeting with key bodies, including representatives of Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE), Highland Council and the business community, to discuss how to take the initiative forward.
HIE director of digital Stuart Robertson and Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol have spoken supportively of the proposal.
Work is already underway in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow to lay 1Gbps fibre broadband networks.
When the infrastructure there is complete, they will join Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Bristol, York, Leeds and Bradford as gigabit cities.
With technology now permeating all aspects of life, there is a need for leadership as the public sector pushes to keep up with the pace of change
Audit Scotland has evaluated progress on the rollout of superfast broadband in Scotland
The Scottish Government published its draft STEM education strategy in November and work is now underway on the final version
The Scottish Government needs to improve Scotland’s performance in science and technology