£2m for superfast broadband announced

A £2million funding package for superfast broadband in Aberdeen has been announced by the Scottish Government.

The move comes ahead of a visit to the city by UK Digital Minister Matt Hancock, who is at loggerheads with Holyrood colleagues over what he calls a botched technology roll-out.

Scottish Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing has denied there is any delay on his side and pointed to investment in broadband connections for key public buildings.

The funding in Aberdeen will connect 57 buildings, including schools, health and community centres, to speeds of up to a gigabit.

Mr Ewing said the plans were part of the £254million investment package for the region, in addition to the £125million Aberdeen City Region Deal, and lay foundations for greater public and private sector investment in the future.

He said: “Fast and reliable broadband is a key driver of economic growth.

“This is why we are committed to delivering 100% superfast broadband access across Scotland by 2021, along with enhanced connection speeds for key premises in Aberdeen.

“By providing fast and reliable broadband, capable of gigabit speeds, we are transforming Aberdeen into one of the UK’s best connected cities, unlocking greater commercial investment in the future.”

City Region Deal Joint Committee chairman Jim Gifford, who is also Aberdeenshire Council leader, said: “A special meeting of the joint committee has been called this week and will be considering this significant digital project.

“The investment is designed to be a catalyst. Whilst in the first instance this will benefit public buildings in the city, it will put in place the required infrastructure to unlock future growth into Aberdeenshire.

“The committee has ambitions to make this region one of the best connected in the UK and this could go some way to meeting that target.”