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£5m fund available for internet in rural areas

Remote areas get assistance for high-speed broadband

A £5m fund has become available for remote parts of Scotland to be able to benefit from high-speed broadband.

Community Broadband Scotland has been set up to provide rural community groups with advice and information on how to receive better broadband to their area. Also from October a telephone helpline and website will be made available giving advice and support with a dedicated team on hand.

The scheme has been welcomed by Shetland Telecom’s Marvin Smith, though he warned communities would need to be fast acting to ensure their share of money.

Seed Funding is a government scheme to help improve internet access. The focus of the first round is on a small number of projects the company intends to use as exemplar material for other larger-scale projects.

Holyrood’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil, said: "This is an important new initiative which will support communities, develop innovative solutions to bring fast, reliable broadband services to some of Scotland's most rural locations."

Alex Paterson, the highlands and islands enterprise chief executive said that the fund would help to achieve the Scottish Government’s aim to have world-class broadband infrastructure by 2020.

Spokesman for regeneration and sustainable development Councilor Stephen Hagan, at local government body Cosla, said: "I welcome the launch of the seed fund and the start of a project to investigate what can be delivered in terms of improved broadband coverage for all Scottish communities, no matter how remote they are from the current broadband network."

The £5m fund is part of the spending review that was given to the UK. A large total of £425m was allocated to the UK to get fast broadband.

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