Scots told to stop moaning over broadband funding
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has told the country’s politicians to stop moaning about recent funding for projects to improve rural broadband north of the border.
As part of last week’s rural broadband funding allocation, Scotland received £68.8 million of the latest £363m tranche of the £530m rural broadband finance pot.
The announcement was met with fierce criticism from the Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Secretary, Alex Neil, who claimed the funding was inadequate.
The Scottish Government needs to be more upbeat. It takes a rather sour outlook to turn nearly £70 million into a setback
“This announcement from the UK Government has fallen short of the expectations of the Scottish economy to the overall costs of broadband rollout in the remote and rural parts of Scotland,” he said.
“For instance, the cost to deliver next generation broadband across the Highlands and Islands alone has been estimated at up to £300m, therefore we do not regard the UK Government’s allocation as a realistic contribution to meet Scotland’s broadband requirements.”
However, Moore disagreed, and indeed the funding was higher than other regions received.
“The Scottish Government needs to be more upbeat. It takes a rather sour outlook to turn nearly £70 million into a setback,” Moore said, according to the Press Association news service.
“Instead of looking for the negative, they should step up and meet the challenge of matching UK Government investment in broadband for our rural communities.”
Moore also called on Scotland to use some of its own money to help with the rollout. “If they do that, we can move towards achieving the target of 90% of Scottish premises having superfast broadband – and everyone having access to at least 2Mbits/sec – by 2015,” he said.
“If they don’t invest then they will be failing Scotland’s rural communities and businesses.”
However, Neil has been quick to respond, pointing out to The Scotsman that “this funding allocation doesn’t reflect the fact that Scotland has a third of the UK landmass and some of the most remote areas in these islands”.