Delivering 100% coverage of superfast broadband in Scotland could cost an estimated £4billion, while contributions from the Scottish Government total a doleful £63million so far.
The Scottish Government’s 15% contribution to the £412million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project is far outweighed by investment from Broadband Development UK, the EU and BT. With an added £40million coming from local authorities, almost matching the Scottish Government’s own contribution of £63million.
The Scottish Government has pledged to deliver 100% coverage across the whole of Scotland by 2021. BT, however, have estimated that it will cost £35billion to deliver 100% coverage to the UK, with Scotland expected to need more than it’s per head of population share.
North East MSP Mike Rumbles met with BT officials to discuss the matter. Afterwards he said: “The Scottish Government is hiding behind outside investment, and claiming it as its own. Meanwhile its own support for superfast broadband is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
“The SNP has promised full coverage by 2021 but if estimates are correct the Scottish Government has invested less than 2% of the money needed to deliver it. This is nothing more than another election pledge that no one in the SNP really thinks they can deliver.
“What the SNP is forgetting is that our homes and businesses now depend on good connectivity. Internet speeds in some parts of rural Aberdeenshire is woeful, and many other parts of the North East aren’t much better.
“Ministers either need to come clean and admit they don’t have a clue how to deliver their promise, or make a meaning contribution to developing telecommunications in Scotland.”
Notes for editors:
- The Scottish Parliament Library SPICe report can on Digital Scotland be found here (see page 8 on funding): http://www.parliament.scot/ResearchBriefingsAndFactsheets/S5/SB_16-57_Digital_Connectivity.pdf