Community Broadband Scotland scheme ended by HIE

Friday, January 26th 2018

The Highlands and Islands Enterprise of Scotland has announced that the Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) scheme is coming to an end. The scheme provided funding to help very remote rural parts of the country to set-up alternative broadband networks. The team behind the CBS scheme instead would be undergoing a role change, to be made into the HIE Digital Communities Team. It will continue to support the existing projects of CBS, simultaneously refocusing to provide assistance to the new programme of Reaching 100% (R100) of the Scottish government.

The announcement comes as no surprise as, if the CBS continued in its existing form, it would've come into conflict with the government's R100 programme that has pledged, very recently, a public investment of £600 million, to set-up superfast broadband networks by the end of 2021, that are capable of 30Mbps+ and to be made available to 100% of the Scottish population.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has already started a procurement programme for the R100 project, which will probably run till the end of the year. It may be noted that the existing Digital Scotland project, worth £428 million, partnering Openreach, is due to end by early 2019. HIE's Zoe Laird, who is Head of Communities, said they thanked all communities for supporting the CBS initiative. She added that the R100 programme can truly bridge the digital divide, as it is set to have a transformative impact.

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