Scottish community broadband gets a £5m boost

Scottish community broadband gets a £5m boost

Summary: In yet another broadband funding announcement, the Scottish government has unveiled a fresh £5m to seed-fund community projects in the remotest of remote places

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Community groups in Scotland that want to roll out local, super-fast broadband will soon be able to apply for government funding to do so.

The Scottish government announced a new £5m pot on Thursday. This money is separate from the £120m Highlands and Islands funding announced in late June, the £32m announced in early June and the £69m announced a year ago.

Scottish flag
Community broadband projects in remote parts of Scotland are to get some extra cash.

Those tranches of cash are most likely going to go to BT as an incentive to extend its high-speed access network into far-flung parts of Scotland, whereas the new funding is for community broadband projects.

Under the new scheme, communities will be able to apply for seed funding for local rollouts. From October, they will get access to a telephone helpline and a website offering advice and support, along with a "dedicated team of staff" working on the ground, the Scottish government said in a statement.

"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," Scottish infrastructure secretary Alex Neil said. "This investment of £5m, over the next three years, will see targeted support being provided to community projects to enable them to deliver broadband solutions for their areas."

According to the government, the seed fund will target the 10-15 percent of communities that are least likely to benefit from the other cash that has been announced — presumably because they are the remotest of the remote.

The first to benefit will be the Elvanfoot Development Group in very rural Lanarkshire.

"We're absolutely thrilled to have this project initiated in Elvanfoot and are really excited about being able to access advice and support to get our local community broadband-connected, with all the social and economic benefits that connectivity will bring," group secretary Amanda Burgauer said.

Topics: Broadband, Fiber, Government UK

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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3 comments
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  • England needs it own Government

    It is examples such as this as to why England needs its own Government, not pick & mix UK Government. It is far too easy for parts of England to be ignored when it comes to superfast broadband. Tavistock is the 'Gateway to Superfast Broadband' and yet is not in any BDUK, Connecting Devon & Somerset funding nor on any roll-out plan to date.

    Is the UK Government interested in such Towns - the answer is NO. Good Luck Scotland and it matters not if you are remote in England...
    Tavistock Superfast Broadband
  • Pi55ing about politician's

    Small scale thinking from crappy politician's UK wide, with little pots of money to create jobs for themselves to manage, and fritter away in endless rounds of tendering.

    Just figure out how much it will cost to super fast broadband up 95% of UK and incentivise/shovel the money to BT and tell them to get on with it and get it sorted in 5 years. They won't do it where there is no money in it for them, it common sense.
    neil.postlethwaite
  • Rural Broadband not commercially viable

    As the project manager for rural broadband in Glencaple and Lowther, including Elvanfoot, I do understand why BT are not upgrading our exchanges and giving us superfast broadband right now. Given their obligations to their shareholders, one could even say they would be foolish to do so.

    We knew our community was in the last 5% when considered from a commercial perspective. We do not want to be marginalised and think that it's worth us putting some effort in to bring superfast community owned broadband to our area.

    We welcome the Scottish Government's initiative to establish a new Community Broadband initiative and are sure that, when the programme launches in October, it will be able to disseminate best practice and make it a lot easier for community groups to understand the steps they need to take towards getting broadband for their rural areas.
    amshru