Fiona Hyslop: We all can – and must – benefit from the digital age

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Tomorrow marks the final stage in Scotland's passage to fully digital television. With the completion of TV switchover across the central belt, we have made the transition from the analogue world to a fully inclusive age of improved quality and greater choice.

While many of us now take the benefits of multi-channel TV for granted, it is important that all Scots are able to participate in the digital era.

Just a few years ago, hundreds of thousands of Scottish families were living in digital blackspots. Many others – often older viewers and those on low incomes – were wary of new technology and at risk of being left behind. Switchover has helped bridge this divide by delivering digital TV coverage to a million more Scots.

Now all Scots have joined the era of multi-channel TV, it is important that there is space for a distinct Scottish voice among those channels.

It is fantastic that BBC Alba is available to a wider audience than ever before, broadcasting on Freeview, cable and satellite. However, it is extraordinary that Scotland – a modern, dynamic nation – does not have its own English-language broadcast channel largely dedicated to producing quality Scottish content.

That is why the Scottish Government is keen to establish the Scottish Digital Network, which would make quality public service content available to all of Scotland on television and online.

We are also embarking on an ambitious programme to ensure Scotland is best placed to reap the benefits of digital technology. Earlier this year, I unveiled the Digital Strategy, which sets out the action we are taking to realise our ambitions for Scotland's digital future.

This government is committed to making rapid progress improving broadband infrastructure across the whole country and ensuring that everyone has the skills and confidence to use digital technology.

The digital age offers many opportunities for all. We are determined to do all we can to take advantage of emerging technologies for the benefit of the whole country.

• Fiona Hyslop, MSP, is minister for culture and external affairs

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