Rural Scotland receives £9m broadband boost

Rural Scotland’s digital development has been given a major boost today, with First Minster Nicola Sturgeon announcing a £9m funding programme for fibre broadband projects.

The Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) will offer grants to community-based fibre broadband projects aiming to deliver superfast services in remote areas.

The SRDP 2014-20 scheme will be delivered by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), a Scottish government project led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The First Minister told the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald: “Superfast broadband is being rolled out across Scotland with Scottish Government support, and we are more than halfway towards meeting out target under the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) Programme. The social and economic benefits are clear, as demonstrated by this innovative and accessible wifi tourist information kiosk in Oban’s Phoenix Cinema.

“This SRDP funding will help communities in the hardest to reach broadband areas follow in the footsteps of the pioneering GigaPlus Argyll project, and work together to bring superfast services to homes and businesses.

“This scheme takes the available funding for community broadband projects up to £16.5 million in Scotland, over and above the £400 million DSSB investment. It is another step to achieving the Scottish Government’s aim of delivering world class connectivity by 2020 and, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere, using any device.”

Zoe Laird, CBS director, added: “Access to high speed, robust, broadband has a transformational effect on how people live, work and learn, particularly in our most remote and rural communities. Our role at CBS is to help communities find innovative solutions and GigaPlus Argyll is a great example of an innovative business model that will bring transformational and robust broadband to the most remote of premises across eight island and mainland communities. The SRDP scheme will enable us to help even more rural communities across Scotland get digitally connected.”

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