Rural rollout for high speed broadband

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Households and businesses across Scotland are finally set to reap the long-awaited rewards of high-speed fibre broadband.

It’s all down to a government and private sector partnership after the former was criticised for the slow rollout of faster connections to countryside communities.

The project will be delivered by BT, which is investing £106.7m in the partnership being led by the Scottish Government together with local authorities and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s, Broadband Delivery UK project.

Together with a £146 million partnership announced earlier this year by other internet service providers in the private sector, the new project will ensure that 85% of Scottish properties have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015 and around 95% by the end of 2017.

Nanette Milne, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North-east has welcomed the investment.

She said: “Recent reports have shown that parts of Aberdeenshire had some of the lowest broadband speeds in the UK. It is vital that we see investment in broadband for rural communities.”

“Connecting these communities must be the main priority.”

“It is important that this technology and infrastructure is made available to homes and businesses across the North-east and I have sought to lobby Ministers to prioritise investment for rural communities.

“I will continue to make the case for additional investment.”

“I hope that rural communities across the North-east will be made a priority when this investment in broadband is being delivered.”

Countryside Alliance’s director for Scotland, Jamie Stewart, said: “”We are delighted that government has embraced what has been one of our highest priority campaigns .

‘‘Government has also recognised the importance of Scotland’s rural small and medium-sized businesses to encourage economic growth in hard to reach areas.”

Aboyne photographer Iain McDonagh pointed out Deeside’s own limitations when it came to internet usage and the need for there to be a change: ‘‘Rural broadband speed make uploading times slower.

“I usually get about six megabytes (of data) per second... very restrictive trying to run a business from home.”