Following calls from CBI Scotland, the Scottish government has committed to delivering superfast broadband (speeds greater than 30 Mbps) to every home and business in Scotland by 2021, as part of its 'Reaching 100%' (R100) initiative.
It claims its investment of £600m in the initial phase of its programme is the biggest public investment ever made in a UK broadband project: over double the amount of public funding committed to the current Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out and more than three times bigger than the UK’s Challenge fibre fund.
The programme is designed to 'deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network, placing Scotland as one of the best connected places anywhere in Europe, and underpinning our future economic growth.'
The procurement process for the project has now also been formally launched. Initial procurement is split across three regional lots - North, Central and South - which the government states has been designed to maximise interest from telecoms suppliers from across the UK and Europe.
The first phase of targeted investment will focus on rural areas, rather than urban city centre premises, where it is needed most.