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Rural Areas in Scotland to Receive Broadband Vouchers Under New Plans

David Paul

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voucher scheme

The new scheme will give customers in under-served parts of the country up to £5,000 to ensure broadband coverage by 2021.

The Scottish government has announced it will help remote parts of Scotland to attain solid broadband connections through a new voucher system.

The government’s plan, through the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, is to have 100% coverage in Scotland by the end of next year.

Homes and businesses not in the scope of either the Reaching 100% (R100) contracts or commercial rollouts can apply for the scheme to obtain a 30Mbps capable connection.

Customers can now apply for support, with an online postcode checker used to provide information on eligibility.

Vouchers of up to £400 will be available for premises where superfast broadband is planned for after the end of 2021, with an additional £250 for those in the hardest-to-reach areas.

The R100 programme was designed to provide superfast broadband “to every home and business in Scotland”.

Commenting on the scheme, Scotland’s Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Digital connectivity has played a vital role in supporting our efforts to keep people safe during the Covid-19 lockdown and will be pivotal in plans for our strategic economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Work is underway to build the infrastructure which will underpin R100, backed by Scottish Government funding of £579 million.

“This, together with commercially driven work, will ensure the vast majority of homes and businesses across the country can access superfast broadband access by the end of 2021.

“But Scotland has some of the most challenging locations anywhere in Europe for providing telecoms infrastructure and I have always been clear that additional measures may still be needed to provide superfast access to some of the hardest-to-reach areas.

“That is why we have been developing plans in parallel with the main infrastructure investment to ensure our 100% commitment is met, and the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme offering a level of funding far exceeding that of any other broadband voucher scheme currently in operation within the UK will ensure that everyone can access and benefit from this world-leading digital capability.”

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In a similar attempt to connect people across the country, it was announced last month that the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme had connected over 950,000 premises across Scotland to faster fibre broadband, including more than 110,000 extra premises that were not originally expected to benefit.

The access to superfast broadband helped companies and workers to continue working during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sara Budge, DSSB’s programme director, commented: “I’m immensely proud to be able to say that over 950,000 premises across Scotland that are now able to benefit from fibre broadband thanks to the DSSB programme.

“Whether that’s to transform the operations and marketing of SMEs, being able to work from home easily or just catch up with friends and family online the programme has laid the platform for Scotland’s digital future.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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