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UK Government Boosts Scotland Broadband Funding by GBP32 Million

Friday, June 8th, 2012 (7:48 am) - Score 668
scotland uk regions map

The UK government (Westminster) has announced that the Scottish Government will receive an additional £32m (new total £100.8m) to help it deliver superfast broadband (40-80Mbps) to 85-90% of premises by 2015 and “world-class digital access” to all of Scotland by 2020.

The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office has already allocated £68.8m to Scotland for this purpose. However, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Investment, Alex Neil (SNP), claimed in March 2012 that the UK had “now conceded that we did not get our fair share” of the funding (here).

Breakdown of Scotland’s Broadband Funding
* £100.8m from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)
* £79.5m from the Scottish Government
* £25.5m from Europe (possible maximum)

Scotland can also expect extra cash from the £150m Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) and £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), although related distributions are still being finalised. It will also continue to seek more money from the post 2013 EU programme. As usual all of this must be at least match-funded by the private sector and local authorities.

Clearly Alex Neil was able to make his case to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, in March 2012. It’s reported that this involved the presentation of further modelling for Scotland’s largely rural landscape (i.e. costs more to deliver broadband) and additional analysis from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Michael Moore, Scottish Secretary, said:

Access to superfast broadband means Scottish businesses can expand, develop new markets and compete globally. It also allows local communities to access public services more quickly and efficiently online.

Providing Scotland with high-speed broadband is essential for businesses to grow and to create the new jobs we need. That is why the UK government believes broadband is essential not only for everyday life, but also for the future economic success of Scotland and the UK.”

It’s worth reminding readers that the government ultimately wants 90% of people in the UK to be within reach of a superfast broadband (at least 24Mbps to 30Mbps) service by 2015 (the last 10% will get at least 2Mbps), yet if the EU refines its state aid rules then the UK might need to re-adjust its definition of “super-fast” to at least 30Mbps for all projects (at present 24Mbps+ is still acceptable for older projects).

Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt MP added that the “extra investment will help Scotland develop the infrastructure that businesses need to grow in the digital age“. Further details about Scotland’s Digital Future (Infrastructure Action Plan) can be found here.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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