Publication - FOI/EIR release

Telecommunications technology connectivity for vulnerable groups: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
25 Jan 2021
Telecommunications technology connectivity for vulnerable groups: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000105084
Date received: 27 Oct 2020
Date responded: 4 Dec 2020
Information requested

"In light of the Covid pandemic, vulnerable groups and the upcoming Christmas period (2020/21):

1. How many people in Scotland have no access any to telecommunications technology such as broadband, smartphone (3-5G), etcetera?
i) of the above, how many people are estimated not to have the skills required to use forms of telecommunications technology such as phones, computers, laptops, etcetera?
ii) of the above, how many are suspected of not having the means to afford regular access to telecommunications technology?
iii) of the above, how many live in blackspot areas with no or limited access to telecommunications technology such as broadband, smartphone (3-5G), etcetera?

2. Of those people that have no access any to telecommunications technology, how many would be considered to be vulnerable or belonging to a vulnerable group? (Including but not exclusively groups such as older people, disabled and people with known mental or physical health issues)
i) of the above, how many people are estimated to not have the skills required to use forms of telecommunications technology such as phones, computers, laptops, etcetera?
ii) of the above, how many are suspected of not having the means to afford regular access to telecommunications technology?
iii) of the above, how many live in blackspot areas with no or limited access to telecommunications technology such as broadband, smartphone (3-5G), etcetera?

3. Please provide a list of Scottish Government programmes, schemes and initiatives designed to assist people in vulnerable groups gain access to telecommunications technology. For each case, please:
i) state the purpose of the scheme and when it began.
ii) state the total number of people that have accessed the scheme, to date.
ii) provide the total annual budget for the scheme.

4. What is the total Scottish Government budget to improve telecommunications access specifically for people in vulnerable groups?

5. Are there any further schemes provided by organisations other than the Scottish Government, such as third sector organisations, that aim to improve telecommunications access, specifically for people in vulnerable groups?"

Response

Based off of the clarification received in relation to the above questions, please see the below reply for each question.

1. How many people in Scotland have no access any to telecommunications technology such as broadband, smartphone (3-5G), etcetera?

2. Of those people that have no access any to telecommunications technology, how many would be considered to be vulnerable or belonging to a vulnerable group? (Including but not exclusively groups such as older people, disabled and people with known mental or physical health issues)


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. However, the information you have requested, based on your reply to our request for clarification on broadband specifically for vulnerable groups, is available from https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-household-survey-2019-annualreport/pages/8/.

3. Please provide a list of Scottish Government programmes, schemes and initiatives designed to assist people in vulnerable groups gain access to telecommunications technology.

4. What is the total Scottish Government budget to improve telecommunications access specifically for people in vulnerable groups?


The Connecting Scotland programme was set up in May 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to provide a national, human-centred, consistent and comprehensive approach to reducing the rates of digital exclusion and digital marginalisation due to low income.

Phase one of the programme provides up to 9000 digitally excluded people at high clinical risk of Covid-19 with access to a device, internet connection and data, and training and support to be online for up to a year. This was subsequently extended to 2 years as a result of increased funding.

Phase two of the programme provides funding for low income families with children and young care leavers and will reach up to 23,000 households. This phase launched on 18 August with the first round of applications for Phase 2 closing on 5 October with awards and delivery of devices to take place from December onwards. Applications for the second round of Phase 2 will close on 18 January 2021.


An additional £23 million of funding was announced in this year's Programme for Government . This announcement brings total funding of the programme to £43 million. This will allow the Connecting Scotland programme to reach up to 50,000 by the end of 2021 and to extend the offer of unlimited data, training and support from one year to two years.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the specific information you have requested. The reason we do not have this information is we do not hold exhaustive lists covering this information as it covers multiple portfolio areas.

5. Are there any further schemes provided by organisations other than the Scottish Government, such as third sector organisations, that aim to improve telecommunications access, specifically for people in vulnerable groups?

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. The reason we do not have this information is the Scottish Government does not hold information on schemes run by external organisations.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG