NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND
143. Promoting broadband access is an Executive priority. Connecting Scotland: Our Broadband Future sets out a strategy for delivering affordable access throughout the country (see Map 21). Within the Scottish Enterprise area, Project ATLAS has been developed to meet the needs of large commercial users. A telecoms trading exchange has been established in Edinburgh. Around a dozen e-business demonstration centres have also been developed across Scotland providing advice to businesses about broadband and its benefits.
144. The Executive committed itself to extending ADSL-equivalent broadband services to at least 70% of the population by the end of March 2004 and is examining opportunities for extending coverage beyond this. Measures are being taken to stimulate demand across Scotland to strengthen the case for commercial provision. Selected exchanges in the Highlands and Islands are being ADSL-enabled with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Trials of wireless and powerline technologies are underway to determine their potential for delivering broadband to more remote areas. "Pathfinder" projects have been established in the Highlands and Islands and the South of Scotland to exploit the potential of the aggregated demand for broadband from the public sector.
145. The planning of major infrastructure projects such as railways, roads and pipelines should take account of opportunities to extend the broadband network.