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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-22975: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 2 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that superfast broadband speeds will be available to every address by the end of 2021.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 3 June 2019

Commercial coverage will play a vital role too, particularly in Scotland’s urban areas. I am greatly encouraged by existing, significant investment programmes as well as commitments and further emerging plans from commercial suppliers such as CityFibre and Virgin Media, in addition to investment being made by Openreach.

We are seeking to work with UK Ministers to ensure alignment with existing UK Government voucher schemes, maximising opportunities for collective investment to deliver further benefits. This will help to ensure that premises in remote, rural and islands areas are not disadvantaged, due to their higher cost of installation.

By maintaining a competitive dialogue throughout the £600 million R100 procurement for, we are maximising competition and driving value, innovation and coverage. This programme is 96.5% funded by the Scottish Government, despite the UK Government having responsibility for investing in broadband across the UK. The competitive nature of the procurement process has given us the best chance of optimising the cost effectiveness of public funding to deliver the greatest possible outcome for the people of Scotland.

Despite the constraints of all regulatory and legislative powers over telecommunications being reserved to the UK Parliament and UK Ministers, the Scottish Government recognises the importance of broadband services for economic development and has stepped in to address the failings of the UK-wide market to deliver services to many premises across Scotland. Through our Reaching 100% programme (R100), the Scottish Government is determined to ensure that all premises have access to services at superfast speeds of 30 Megabits per second or better.