By Lea Pachta

Superfast broadband will bring an array of social, economic and health benefits to consumers and businesses across Scotland, Stephen Timms, and Minister for Digital Britain will say today.

He will emphasise the Government’s commitment to ensure towns, cities and remote areas of Scotland will have access to next generation networks by 2017. With the help of Government funding, high speed broadband will be delivered to areas that would not be reached by private sector investment alone.

Stephen Timms said:

“Digital Britain’s aim is to make the UK one of the most competitive, highly skilled and technologically advanced economies in the world.

“The Government will spend some £200m on improving the broadband networks of areas that have little or no service, including remote parts of Scotland.

“Already the market in Scotland is delivering innovative ways of connecting people to these superfast networks. The Fibrecity initiative is already delivering 100Mbps broadband to residents in Dundee via fibre optic networks beneath the city.

“It is this kind of market-led investment, supported by Government funding that I want to see rolled out more widely so that all parts of Scotland can enjoy a brighter Digital Future.”

In a meeting with Peter Peacock MSP, Consumer Focus Scotland and representatives of local authority and telecoms groups, Stephen Timms will outline developments in the Digital Britain agenda and talk about the Government's plans for boosting access to broadband and digital inclusion across the UK.

Trisha McAuley, Interim Director, Consumer Focus Scotland, said:

“Digital exclusion is a major issue in Scotland, particularly for those living in rural and remote areas.

“The Digital Britain report makes a positive commitment to universal access to broadband in the UK, although further work is needed.

“We welcome the Minister’s visit as an opportunity to discuss the particular broadband needs of Scottish consumers and how improvements to universal broadband can be effectively implemented in Scotland.”

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