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Scotland Launches GBP5 Million Rural Community Broadband Scheme

Thursday, Aug 9th, 2012 (1:00 pm) - Score 675

The Scottish Government has today announced the launch of a new £5 million Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) initiative, which will apparently act as a “one-stop-shop” to provide rural community groups with “information” and “practical support” to help them find better internet access solutions.

A new telephone helpline and website is expected to be setup for the scheme in October 2012 and a “dedicated team of staff” will work on the ground to provide “hands on assistance” to related rural towns and villages. Communities will also be eligible to apply for seed funding (Rural Seed Fund) under the initiative to enable them to obtain better broadband access.

Alex Neil, Scottish Secretary for Infrastructure, said:

Everyone recognises the importance of access to broadband to ensure that our local communities flourish. Broadband should not be considered a luxury in rural areas; it is essential to enhance the quality of life and stimulate the growth of the local economy.

This investment of £5 million, over the next three years, will see targeted support being provided to community projects to enable them to deliver broadband solutions for their areas.

Increasing access to broadband is a key priority area for the Scottish Government, and we are currently progressing plans to develop a world class digital infrastructure by 2020.”

The first round (Pioneer Phase with up to £1m) of funding from the new CBS scheme will focus on supporting a small number of community projects, which will be “used as case studies for wider roll-out across Scotland“. It will initially only focus upon the 10-15% of Scotland that are least likely to benefit from Next Generation Broadband (NGB) services.

The Elvanfoot Development Group, a community group in remote rural South Lanarkshire that was created in February 2012 to improve community resources and infrastructure, could be one of the first to use the CBS as a means of testing a range of different community models and issues.

The Scottish Government aims to make superfast broadband (40-80Mbps) services available to 85-90% of premises by 2015 and bring “world-class digital access” to all of Scotland by 2020. This is being backed by £100.8m from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office, £79.5m from the Scottish Government, £25.5m from Europe (possible maximum) and must also be matched by the private sector and local authorities (e.g. councils).

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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