Boost for rural Scottish homes with £18m broadband roll-out

Remote locatrions in Scotland will have access to high speed bradband connections.

Remote locatrions in Scotland will have access to high speed bradband connections.

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Scotland is to benefit from nearly £18 million of funding to roll out superfast broadband in remote areas.

The cash is part of a £440m boost from the UK government to help connect 600,000 homes UK-wide, particularly in rural areas.

It means streaming music or films, which is the norm for city locations, will also be available in areas where it has previously not been possible.

New figures show around 1.5 million homes and businesses have signed up for superfast connections in areas where there is a subsidised roll-out. As a result, BT will be releasing £292m for extra connections following £133m which has already been allocated to be spent in UK regions.

UK government minister for Scotland, Andrew Dunlop, said: “Good connectivity is essential for the way we live our lives – whether that is doing business, teaching our children, or paying our bills.

“It is imperative Scotland gets the technology it needs for the future, which is why the UK government has already spent £120m rolling out reliable broadband across Scotland, supporting families and helping businesses thrive.”

According to figures released by the government, just 26 per cent of Scots who have access to superfast broadband have takn it up, compared to 30 per cent UK-wide.

The UK and Scottish Governments have previously pledged to ensure that 95 per cent of UK premises have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017, increasing to 97 per cent by 2020.

Ewan Taylor Gibson, broadband and TV expert at uSwitch.com, said: “The news of an additional £440m investment in superfast broadband for rural parts of the UK is most welcome – not least for those still suffering the daily grind of trying to navigating today’s online, connected world with cripplingly slow broadband in their own home.”

He added: “Whilst this is a welcome boost, we need to ensure we have a robust plan to keep the roll-out on track and make sure the final 3 per cent are not left behind.”

Superfast broadband, measured at 24Mbps, allows families to surf the web, stream films or music, play online games or watch TV on multiple devices at the same time.

Businesses are also said to benefit by using superfast broadband to run websites and buy and sell products or services online.

Around 4.5 million premises have been given access to superfast broadband through the government’s £1.7 billion Broadband Delivery UK rollout, with more than 1.5 million signing up for a faster connection.

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