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Superfast broadband for all, says Scots politicians

Scotland needs to deliver superfast broadband to all of its population by 2020 to meet the needs of businesses and consumers.

Scotland by jimmy_macdonald3That’s the conclusion of a report by the Scottish Parliament which wants a more ambitious blueprint than the current Scottish broadband plan.

The Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee wants the ‘best possible speed’ for rural areas upgraded to 40-80Mbps for all in eight years.

It called for a drive to eliminate mobile ‘not-spots’, with the 4G mobile spectrum auction crucial to substantially improving mobile coverage.

The committee also wants to focus attention on those with poor broadband take-up, such as the over-55s, small and medium-sized businesses, and parts of Glasgow.

Committee convener Maureen Watt MSP said: “The ability to access fast broadband connections is becoming more and more important in all aspects of our lives.

“A reliable and fast broadband connection helps socially but it is especially crucial in enabling businesses to be able to compete on the world stage.

“High-quality digital infrastructure in Scotland is essential and our committee welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering this.

“To ensure that Scotland has the broadband services it needs, ambitious targets for the roll out of broadband infrastructure are needed, with a target of delivering a world-class broadband infrastructure to 100 per cent of Scotland’s population by 2020.”

The committee has been taking evidence from a wide range of individuals, communities and businesses concerned about unreliable and slow internet connections. 

It found the worst effects were on small and medium-sized businesses outside the main urban centres of Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s ‘Scotland’s Digital Future – Infrastructure Action Plan’ currently calls for broadband speeds of 40-80Mbps for 85-90 per cent of premises in Scotland by 2015. By 2020 Scotland should have a world-class digital infrastructure. 

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