Superfast broadband rollout to prioritise rural areas

The first phase of the £600 million ‘Reaching 100%’ broadband programme will focus on delivering superfast broadband access to Scotland’s rural and island communities, the Scottish Government has revealed.

The procurement will be made up of three regional Lots (North, Central and South), with each containing a mix of the commercially attractive rural areas and harder-to-reach communities.

This model has been designed to ensure the best possible chance of maximising competition whilst driving value and innovation.

The North Lot, incorporating Highlands & Islands, Aberdeen, Dundee and Angus has been allocated £384m, with the South of Scotland awarded £133m. The remaining £83m has been given to Central Scotland & Fife.

Connectivity secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We have taken the decision not to focus on urban city centre premises in this first phase, but to target investment where it is needed most – in rural and remote Scotland. We are working with the private sector to encourage their own investment in unconnected urban areas, rather than rely on public funds.

“Reaching 100% will not be easy to achieve, however achieve it we must. Fast and reliable digital connectivity is a fundamental expectation of all communities, regardless of location.

“To deliver our ambition, this government is investing £600 million through the Reaching 100% programme – more than any government in the UK has ever invested in broadband.

“I am confident that this procurement approach, funded by our record investment, will put delivery of our unique 100% commitment within touching distance. We are aiming to provide a robust fibre backbone to underpin delivery of superfast broadband for all by the end of 2021.”

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