Scots get larger broadband subsidy from UK government

The UK government has allocated a further £32 million to Scotland to help expand its broadband network.

The extra cash is on top of the £69 million awarded by the government last August, which also saw millions of pounds awarded to English, Welsh and Northern Irish projects.

With its large rural areas and number of remote islands, Scotland is seen as a special case when it comes to state funding for the deployment of broadband, as phone operators are not obliged to deliver universal services to customers and businesses when it comes to broadband.

Scottish secretary Michael Moore said: "Providing Scotland with high-speed broadband is essential for businesses to grow and to create the new jobs we need. That is why the UK Government believes broadband is essential not only for everyday life but also for the future economic success of Scotland and the UK."

The actual broadband speeds delivered through the extra £32 million have not been set in stone, although the government in public pronouncements keeps promoting "superfast broadband", which regulator Ofcom deems to be at least 24mbps.

However, just a basic broadband service of between 6mbps and 10mbps would be a big improvement for many Scottish rural citizens.

Meanwhile, in England, one small part of Cumbria is being cut off from its broadband service after a public subsidy was indirectly axed by the UK government.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide is cutting "uneconomical" broadband services in the Duddon Valley and Branthwaite in the Lake District.

Cable & Wireless' broadband service arrived in the area via its Demon internet arm only four years ago at the cost of a £500,000 public subsidy via the now-axed North West Development Agency. The government recently abolished regional development bodies to save public money, so no more broadband cash will be forthcoming to this part of England.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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