Scottish Government to invest £500m in broadband for communities and businesses by 2015

The Scottish Government will invest around £500m in broadband for communities and businesses by 2015, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment Alex Neil pledged today.

Neil said this as the Scottish Government published a procurement plan detailing how contracts will be awarded to reduce the digital divide and improve the speed and coverage of broadband in every Scottish community.

He said: “We know faster internet access is vitally important, both for the economy and for people’s day to day lives. It will ensure our communities, particularly those in rural and remote areas, remain vibrant, strong and connected.

“Today’s procurement plan, backed by our major investment for faster internet connections will boost economic growth and connect communities wherever they are in Scotland.

“Research commissioned for BT has shown that next generation broadband investment could boost a town’s economy by around £143 million; create 225 new jobs and 140 new start-up businesses. For a typical city, these figures are even more impressive. Investment can mean up to £296 million for a city’s economy, around 430 new jobs and 320 new businesses.

“Working with local Government and private sector partners, the total funding package we are putting together is substantial – some half a billion pounds. I believe it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and I am determined to drive the maximum economic benefits possible from that spending.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in that process, and we will now move towards commencing procurement and awarding a contract based on the actions set out. That will ensure faster broadband connections are on their way, no matter where you live in Scotland.

“Securing the digital infrastructure we all need is in the interest of the whole of Scotland – public, private, local and national government. By working with CoSLA, local authorities and economic partners, we will bring maximum benefits to our communities and make full use of their local expertise.”

Broadband image via Shutterstock.

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