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Scotland Starts Procurement Process for Faster Highlands and Islands Broadband

Posted: 10th Jun, 2011 By: MarkJ
scotland uk regions mapThe Scottish Government's economic and community development agency for remote a rural parts of northern Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has finally launched a procurement (tender) process to find ISPs that will help it co-invest and deploy superfast broadband ISP services throughout the region.

The move comes eight long months after the governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office first granted HIE a slice of its £530m budget. Scotland's own national broadband strategy (here), which is admittedly somewhat vague, aims to make next generation broadband available to everybody by 2020.

The CEO of HIE, Alex Paterson, said:

"Good communication links are a cornerstone in growing attractive, sustainable communities in remote and rural areas. Having faster, reliable broadband links across the world brings with it a whole range of opportunities, both in delivering the services our communities need every day and in the ways we as a region can do business.

Understandably, everyone wants to know if faster broadband capability will reach them. Our ultimate aim is for all our communities to benefit, throughout all parts of the Highlands and Islands. At this first stage we are committed to seeing a fair spread across the region. The winning tender will need to demonstrate the best options for value and reach."

Sadly HIE doesn't outline the scope of its plan, although it expects to be signing related contracts by July 2012 and states that the details will effectively be determined by whomever ends up agreeing to do the work. That all sounds rather poor when you consider the huge detail that has gone into the related Herefordshire and Gloucestershire plan (here).
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