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Tam Jardine @Tam__Jardine
, 19 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I have read a lot of rubbish about the superfast-broadband roll out tonight. Fluffy is blaming the Scottish Government, the SNP blaming UK and Kirstene Hair wants the UK to take over delivery of superfast broadband, even though telecommunications is reserved. But who is right?
(please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). 1. pro-indy tweeters are correct- telecommunications is reserved and the UK government is responsible. However. Back in 2013 superfast broadband, delivered solely on commercial grounds was crap for rural UK & needed urgent investment
2. Scotland has obviously got unique challenges- by far the most challenging country of the UK to deliver Superfast Broadband.
Check out population density, and remember- Scotland has nearly 100 inhabited islands.
3. So- to answer which country you would expect to lag behind in superfast broadband rollout the answer would be Scotland. As it transpired in 2013- only 52% of premises in Scotland could access highspeed broadband.
4. So the UK government, with overall responsibility delegated delivery of this to Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly and in England- Local Authorities.
5. So somehow the UK government ended up with functional responsibility for actually delivering superfast broadband other than funding & they conveniently duck out of how far the UK had fallen behind on their watch.
6. A funding package was put together for Scotland (divided between 2 areas (Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scottish Government for rest of Scotland. Fund SG, UK gov, councils, EU, BT.
7. This was all signed off in 2013. Bear in mind, the Scottish Government then signs contracts with BT to roll this out. But politically, they have taken on this mammoth task (and as they serve Scotland, why would they not?
8. So how are they getting on? Well, in Scotland we appear to have increased premises with access to superfast broadband from 52% to 83% between 2013 and 2016. It was at about 90% in June this year and the target of 95% for the end of this year looks difficult.
9. But targets are meant to be difficult to achieve otherwise what's the point? I would suggest that turning this round from 52% to approx 90% in 4 years is miraculous.
10. It is easy for the tories to point the finger- they are not functionally responsible for delivering jackshit. The Scottish Government and Scottish councils are picking up 40% of the tab for a reserved responsibility.
11. BT are providing 30% of the funding. The UK treasury 25% and the EU 5%.
12. So what about rural Scotland? The increase in rural coverage between 2015 and 2016 is encouraging- enjoying the largest increase, again from a very low base. Hardly the shambles @Kirstene4Angus was suggesting today.
13. What about those SMEs- small/medium sized businesses? Again during the same period (I don't have a stat for 2017) premises able to access superfast broadband enjoyed the highest increase (from a low base).
14. And what about the international picture? How does UK fare in terms of broadband average speed? Languishing behind the pack as one would expect.
15. So what do I conclude? Scotland was way behind before this funding package and before telecommunications was effectively devolved. Not sure how exactly that came about but it did.
16. The Scottish Government in partnership with the private sector have dramatically improved the outlook but Scotland is one of the most challenging countries to link up digitally as anyone with half a brain can appreciate.
17. The accusation levelled by @DavidMundellDCT is ridiculous given the UK gov's only role in the UK is opening a chequebook. We are starting from a low, low base in Scotland due to viability and past failure to address this.
18. Progress in this area should be celebrated- not least because using this issue as yet another political football does a disservice to all the men and women working really hard across the country to hook the place up. Ends.
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