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A voucher scheme to help ensure everyone in Scotland has access to superfast broadband by the end of 2021 has been announced by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish broadband voucher scheme will provide funding of up to £5,000 to help homes and businesses not in the scope of either Reaching 100 per cent (R100) contracts or planned commercial investment to obtain superfast broadband where providers may not ordinarily go.
Interim vouchers of up to £400 are also being made 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.
An online postcode checker has been launched to give homes and businesses information on superfast roll-out in their area and provide information on voucher scheme eligibility.
Arran’s MSP Kenneth Gibson said: ‘Digital Connectivity has played a vital role in supporting efforts to keep people safe during the Covid-19 lockdown and is crucial to our economic recovery.
‘Although telecoms are reserved to Westminster, its modest commitment of only £20.9 million would mean people and businesses could wait many years to obtain the broadband they need. The Scottish Government has therefore stepped up to the plate.
‘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 Scotland can access superfast broadband access by the end of 2021. However, we have some of the most challenging topography anywhere in Europe for providing telecoms infrastructure, not least on Arran. Therefore, additional measures may still be needed to provide superfast access to some of the hardest-to-reach areas.
‘That is why Scottish ministers have been developed plans in parallel with the main infrastructure investment to ensure the Scottish government’s 100 per cent commitment is met.
‘The Scottish broadband voucher scheme offers a level of funding far exceeding that of any other scheme currently operating in the UK, to ensure everyone can access and benefit from this world-leading digital capability.’
The R100 programme is a commitment to provide access to superfast broadband of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) to every home and business in Scotland. The online postcode tracker is now live at: www.scotlandsuperfast.com