William Eichler 18 August 2016

Holyrood 'must do more' to roll-out broadband, auditors say

Holyrood must do more to roll-out broadband, auditors say image

The roll-out of high-speed broadband in Scotland is making ‘good progress’, but more needs to be done to extend coverage to rural areas, auditors say.

The Scottish government is committed to ensuring everyone in Scotland is able to access the internet at any time and on any device by 2020. In order to achieve this, in 2013 they paid BT £412m to extend Scotland’s existing fibre broadband network.

Audit Scotland reported 2.2 million out of 2.6 million premises had access to fibre broadband by March 2016 – 1% more than the Scottish government’s original target. They also noted more than 500,000 of these gained access through the BT contracts.

However, the auditors went on to warn the remaining areas are more rural and harder to reach. They said these remote areas are likely to need more complicated and costly engineering solutions before they can get high-speed broadband.

The Scottish government also needs to decide what it intends on doing with the remaining £42m it has for rolling-out broadband, the auditors added.

‘Fast, reliable internet access is increasingly essential for everyday life, so it’s encouraging to see good progress being made in rolling out fibre broadband,’ Caroline Gardner, auditor general for Scotland, said.

‘However, there is a lot still to be done by the Scottish Government if it is to achieve its vision of a world class digital infrastructure, particularly in improving download speeds in rural areas.’

‘It’s important that it continues to monitor the cost and progress of broadband rollout so that these communities aren’t excluded,’ Ms Gardner added.

A report, published by Deloitte last December, found increased digitalisation could add up to £13bn to the Scottish economy.

Responding to this report, deputy first minister John Swinney said: ‘Scotland is already making good progress in digitalisation.

‘We are driving the £410m roll out of superfast broadband across Scotland, supporting businesses and individuals to get online, and working to ensure our people have the right skills to both get online and make a career in the digital sector.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

SEND Operations Assistant

Essex County Council
Up to £12.02 per hour
The SEND Operations Assistant provides administration and support to the statutory SEND processes such as the Annual Review Process, in particular at phase transfer, as well as providing a triage service for all contacts received by the SEND Operations Te England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Relief Resource Centre Worker - Nidderdale Children's Resource Centre - Award Winning Team

North Yorkshire County Council
£20,493
The role of Relief Resource Centre Worker is invaluable, rewarding, complex and challenging; you will play an... Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Specialist Teacher

Birmingham City Council
Main/ Upper Pay Scale + up to full SEN Allowance
This exciting opportunity will be to join a well-established team supporting children and young people with communication and... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

People Analytics / Workforce Planning Lead

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Job Purpose This role will be responsible for carrying out data extraction, manipulation, research, analysis, and interpretation of data to provide me England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Building Surveyor

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39774 - £42684 per annum + Essential Car Allowance
Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for this position. Please click on the job title below to view the Job Description and apply to it! England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue