Scottish govt to consider super-fast broadband plans in December
The Scottish government's cabinet sub-committee is due to consider the country's super-fast broadband plans next month before the proposals are officially unveiled in January, Infrastructure Minister Alex Neil has said.
Members of the organisation are set to discuss how the SNP administration should spend the £143 million of public money that has been set aside to fund broadband improvements across the country, reports the Herald Scotland.
Some £68 million of this cash has come from the UK government, while £50 million is from Scotland's own next-generation digital fund and £25 million has been contributed by Europe, Mr Neil explained.
"The cabinet sub-committee will be considering a draft of the plan in December and our intention is to publish in January - and I intend to keep to that," he said. "Believe you me, our foot is very much now on the accelerator."
Mr Neil went on to outline his desire for Scotland to overtake other parts of the UK where super-fast broadband is already prevalent, such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, where BT is aiming to deliver fibre-based connectivity to 80 per cent of properties by the end of 2014.
The MSP argued the organisational structure of Scotland's broadband strategy will help the country to achieve this goal.
He claimed coordinating the scheme at national government level offers advantages over the English approach, where individual local authorities have been given responsibility for deciding how the money should be spent.
"We have a more manageable situation up here," Mr Neil insisted.
Although Scotland is looking to boost its own super-fast broadband plans by examining deployments in other countries, the Infrastructure Minister said the government has no intention to conduct a "world tour of digital sites" before putting its own proposals into action.
"The drive behind this is not just from me but from the whole cabinet," he added.