Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Pilot superfast broadband for Highlands

Tons of spending review stuff written at a speed to match these fast and furious cuts - buy the Daily Record for coverage.

We'll be poring over the detail for weeks, I guess, but when I live-tweeted (do follow me @Torcuil )the announcement about a pilot superfast broadband scheme for the Highlands and Islands there was quite a response from the online Gaidhealtachd. Mostly cynical, it has to be said, but that's online life.

Unfortunately, I've been able to glean much detail from the Scotland Office or the Department for Culture, Media and Sport simply because the announcements are just that now, announcements.

Pilot broadband schemes are confirmed for the Highlands and Islands, North Yorkshire, Herefordshire and Cumbria.

No specifics on where in the Highlands the pilot would be although there is a budget of £5bn to £10bn for each scheme, money left over from the BBC's digital switchover fund.

The pilot schemes aim to find the best technical solutions and population groups to provide superfast connections, according to DCMS.

Labour had a plan for a 50p a month tax on landlines to fund the roll out of superfast across parts of the country that commerce wouldn't reach.

I can't see how finding a technical solution will get any closer to attracting private suppliers to these areas where it's hard to get a return on investment. Inevitably the pilot scheme won't cover the whole Highlands and Islands area, so one community will be a superfast winner, the rest will be left at the end of a copper wire.

1 comment:

  1. I gather (from sources in BT) it's for areas that have no broadband of any kind at the moment, rather than anywhere with minimal or low quality broadband. So, for example, the Western Isles will not be eligible as they have two different broadband providers.