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Scotland's Digital Future: Infrastructure Action Plan outlines our commitment to a world-class, future-proofed infrastructure that will deliver digital connectivity across the whole of Scotland by 2020.  So far, over £240 million of public sector funding has been committed to taking forward the Infrastructure Action plan.

Our plan states:

  • That next generation broadband will be available to all by 2020 with an interim milestone to close the digital divide; and
  • That the rate of broadband uptake by people in Scotland should be at or above the UK average by 2013, and should be highest among the UK nations by 2015

Improvements to our digital infrastructure are essential if Scotland is to be in the forefront of the digital age.

Infrastructure Action Plan

Comprising four critical programmes, our Action Plan will ensure that we meet our ambition and deliver a world-class digital infrastructure for Scotland.

  • Step Change will address the current digital divide by extending the infrastructure needed to deliver next generation broadband to those areas where the market will currently not go;
  • The programme consists of two live projects.  The first contract to deliver next generation broadband across the Highlands and Islands was signed in March 2013 by BT and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  The second contract, signed on 9 July 2013, covers the rest of Scotland, and has been procured by a project team based in the Scottish Government working on behalf of both SG and local authorities across the region.
  • We are investing in broadband infrastructure that will address the current digital divide and put in place infrastructure that will have the capacity to deliver next generation broadband to 95% of premises by 2017, and a significant uplift in speeds for the remaining areas
  • Our procurement strategy will seek to extend the reach further and deliver the best possible speeds for those where delivery of 40 to 80Mbps is not possible at this stage;
  • World-Class 2020 will deliver a longer term plan, developed in parallel, to ensure we have the right mechanisms, partnerships and commercial models in place to deliver world-class infrastructure in a sustainable way and in partnership with industry;
  • There is no fixed definition of what world-class access will look like in the future. Today world-class would probably be speeds of between 100Mbps and 1Gbps. In 2020, this may differ;
  • Experts believe that technologies available today, like fibre, can provide the future proofed backbone we need to meet future demand at increasing speeds for decades to come;
  • We will use the best available expertise to make sure Scotland is best placed.

Read more about our World Class vision

Underpinning these core infrastructure programmes are two additional programmes:

  • Demonstrating Digital is targeted at promoting locally based projects and programmes and also trialling new technologies;
  • Choose Digital First will be targeted at raising digital participation rates (for businesses and individuals) and raising demand for services - helping to improve the commercial case for investment and delivering better outcomes for Scotland.

Read more about the Demonstrating Digital programme

Improving mobile coverage across Scotland is also an important element of the plan to ensure people have good access, wherever they are, to telephone and data services from hand held platforms such as mobile and smart phones, and tablets.

Community Broadband Scotland

Community Broadband Scotland was launched in August 2012 to provide a one-stop-shop for rural community groups to develop broadband coverage in their areas.

See all the details on the Community Broadband Scotland website.

The initiative comprises a range of support mechanisms including advice, guidance and toolkits delivered through the Community Broadband Scotland website, a telephone advisory service and a network of staff on the ground delivering practical hands-on support locally to communities.

A Start-Up Fund amounting to £5 million over a three year period is also available to provide targeted financial support to those communities least likely to benefit from a next generation broadband solution under the Step Change programme.

Community Broadband Scotland is a national programme delivering a Scotland wide service to support community broadband solutions.  More information on this initiative and the 6 pioneer projects selected in November 2012 to be the first to benefit from the Start-Up Fund can be found on the Community Broadband Scotland website.

Find out more:

Scotland's Digital Future: Infrastructure Action Plan

Digital Scotland 2020: Achieving World-Class digital infrastructure

Scotland's Digital Future: Infrastructure Action Plan - Step Change 2015 Procurement Plan

Scotland's Digital Future - A Strategy for Scotland: First Annual Progress Report and Update 2012

Highlands and Islands Broadband Project

Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband 

Digital Blog - Community Broadband Scotland Pioneering Communities Seminar (April 2013)

Public Wireless Programme