Superfast Broadband "Challenging" in Scotland
Timeline for delivering superfast broadband to every property in Scotland is “challenging by anybody’s standards”, says Kate Forbes.
12:21 29 September 2019
Kate Forbes, Scotland’s minister for digital economy, has admitted that the timeline for delivering superfast broadband to every properly in the country is “challenging by anybody’s standards.” However, she reiterated that the government is fully committed to delivering the service to all as soon as possible.
Forbes said she regarded broadband and mobile connectivity as “on the same level now as other utilities like electricity".
“It’s critically important, and over the last five years, there’s been a huge increase in the number of premises that have fibre broadband access,” she said.
“I think it’s gone from about 29 per cent having access in September 2014 to 74 per cent in September 2019.
“Clearly, we want to get to 100 per cent and that’s where our Reaching 100 programme kicks in to ensure that no business or organisation or property is left behind.”
“In terms of timescales, procurement is ongoing, and the aim is to award a contract by the end of the year, and delivery timescales would then be confirmed once a supplier or suppliers are in place,” Forbes added.
“But we’ve committed £600m to delivering R100. Despite broadband being wholly, legally and regulatory a responsibility of UK ministers, of that £600m, only £21m is being met by the UK Government.
“Our commitment is there, we’ve committed the money. It’s challenging by anybody’s standards, but we’re doing it because we recognise that we want 100 per cent of properties to have access.”