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Scottish Government adds £2.5m to Community Broadband Scotland scheme

The Scottish Government has added a further £2.5 million in funding support to help deliver broadband to the remotest areas of Scotland.

 

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce the latest funding on a visit to a digital skills class for adult learners, hosted by Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau.

The announcement brings the total investment in the Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) programme to £7.5 million and will extend the scheme to “at least March 2018”.

CBS is currently engaging with 75 active community groups across Scotland to support digital connectivity across Scotland’s hard-to-reach communities.

The Scottish Government and its partners are already investing £410 million in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which aims to roll out fibre broadband to 85 per cent of Scottish premises by 2015.

This latest funding will target the areas least likely to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollouts.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project is being delivered by BT in two parts - Highlands and Islands and rest of Scotland – and over four years aims to bring superfast broadband to more than a million people across Scotland.

The project, funded by a partnership of the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT, to deliver broadband to areas which have been identified as not being commercially viable for BT to include in commercial roll-outs.

HIE is leading on the £146 million project for its region and aims to bring fibre services to 84 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are making this investment in remote and rural communities across Scotland to enable them to establish their own community broadband networks.

“Improving digital connectivity doesn’t just boost economic opportunities, it transforms the way people live, work and learn, particularly in remote and rural Scotland.

“The Community Broadband Scotland programme is an important part of our work in empowering local communities, through this programme they can control their own digital destiny alongside the major infrastructure investment through our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.”

 

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