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Scottish government unhappy with broadband funds allocation
Wednesday 17 August 2011 12:34:27 by John Hunt

The Scottish government have stated that they are disappointed with the amount of funding for broadband services in Scotland after the country has been allocated £68.8 million of investment from the BDUK fund.

"This announcement from the UK Government has fallen short of the expectations of the Scottish economy to the overall costs of broadband rollout in the remote and rural parts of Scotland. For instance the cost to deliver next generation broadband across the Highlands and Islands alone has been estimated at up to £300 million, therefore we do not regard the UK Government's allocation as a realistic contribution to meet Scotland's broadband requirements.

"The Scottish Government believes that people across Scotland should have the same access to the benefits of high speed connection and fair access to the digital revolution. That investment will be good for jobs and economic growth and why we will be introducing a Next Generation Digital Fund amongst other measures.

Alex Neil, (Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment) Scottish Government

The amount being made available to Scotland accounts for around 13% of the total funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) who are allocating a sum of £530m throughout the UK to help improve broadband services and ensure a minimum access speed of 2Mbps is available to all. The Scottish government would look to find matched funding from a private partner who would deploy services, but this wouldn't get them up to the estimated £300m that would be needed to help the entire country. Neil says he will be writing to the UK government to try and secure the country a better deal.

A further £300m is expected to be made available in the next parliament which may go further to helping increase next-generation broadband access, but this is again for all of the UK. If the Scottish share remains roughly the same, they would only see an additional £40m of funding.


Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
So are the Jocks saying they represent MORE than 13% of the UK?
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Scotland is ~8.4% of the UK population.

So simple sums says that 13% of the pie given to a 8.4% of the people means that each person gets 55% more pie than they would normally get if the pie was shared on a per person basis.

13 / 8.4 = 1.547

or to make it easier

each person in Scotland will receive £13.20 and in England £5.60

Looks like a good deal for the Scots to me.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Wales got £57m, which is £20 per head.

The Scots do have tax raising powers ;-)
Posted by kjmacisaac over 6 years ago
The money is being used to cover areas that the private market won't cover - for example, no money is being given to London.
Therefore the arguement that the money should be distributed by a population % doesn't really make any sense.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Tell them to get a loan from RBS. Oh..wait :)
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
I can see why they'd be upset about Wales receiving more money. Wales do drink from the tax payer's cup far more than the Scots do in terms of value added to the UK.

That said it's about need. Part of the reason Wales relies so heavily on external funding is the sparsely distributed populations.
Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago
Scottish Geography wiki:

"The land area of Scotland is 78,772 km2 (30,414 sq mi), roughly 30% of the area of the United Kingdom (UK).

Bearing in mind that broadband uses cabling, it's a valid point that 30% of the land mass requires more cabling considerations than 8.4% due to population. If we break everything down to population only, it makes sense to service London only, as its population density and total exceeds the rest of the UK.

It's a common point forgotten by those in the South.
Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago

Take this list:

Taking out Greater London, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster, Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly, the population of the funded areas drops from 51.4 million to 42.1 million, with the funding of £295,890,000 that equates to £7.02 per head (not £5.60). Scotland's population of 5.22 million and the funding of 68.8 million equates to £13.18 per head.

What people also tend to forget is the 21CN coverage already deployed. Samknows LLU coverage stats:
Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago

16.45% in Scotland
30.48% in Wales
28.27% in Northern Ireland
38.84% in England (without London)
45.48% in England (including London)

In essence, up to now the investment has been greater in England (whatever way you look at it).
Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago
No one is suggesting England shouldn't get investment, but when people start picking out the easy statistic and forgetting that many areas involved are market 1 or 2 areas (higher cost to subscribers), one gets a little exasperated at the lack of research into the problem. All areas should be getting an equal service. If Scotland needs 300 million (a figure I cannot confirm or deny), what's wrong with saying so?

Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago

"Almost all the UK's net gain in employment in April to June was in Scotland, with the latest survey showing 24,000 more Scots in jobs, out of 25,000 for the whole of the UK."

Surely if we're getting 'per capita' about things, the income tax generated should stay in the North? :P

P.S. - Seb/John...any chance of longer posts? :)
Posted by orly2 over 6 years ago
I think NI is getting less because of previous funding which has put us "in the lead" with regards to FTTC.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
No problems asking for more, but no one is proposing a more appropriate figure... or distribution system for finite amount of funds.

England and Scotland are actually very similar trends for urban vs rural, with both having ~20% of the population in Rural (mkt1/2) areas, GVA is pretty much the same too. England 42:9.6 and Scotalnd 4:1 in millions. With distances being more problematic overall in Scotland, whilst more of a problem regionally in England.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
As for a truly equal service, this is only possible with a nationalised or heavily subsidised network or a high population density (e.g. S. Korea).

So in our limited subsidies situation, only limited areas can be added to economically viable areas. or you limit the costs of the technologies that give you your service... hence the 2Mbps figure.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
And the regional stats, those are LLU %s. Which is not investment per se. But rather can be seen as economic viability, other ISPs (i.e. not BT) are not going to LLU an exchange where there is no profit to be made.

Posted by jtthedevil over 6 years ago
Most people seem to have lost the point of this money, its designed to be used by places known as the final third. Therefore if theres a high population, it will be covered (eventually) by the big providers. The 4 million for N Ireland is an insult. In my area there's over 100 properties connected to a fibre cabinet, upgraded by my taxes, that noone can get a service on as we're still to far away. This money should be used in these type of circumstances, not upgrading someone from 8mb to 40mbs!
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
Scotland accounts for about 8% of the UK's population and is geting just over 13% of the funding which is a very good deal.

It is not Westminsters problem that supplying Broadband to remote islands is very expensive.

Scotland has its own government and has tax raising powers so if they want to spend more they can do so by increasing taxes in Scotland
Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago

"It is not Westminsters problem that supplying Broadband to remote islands is very expensive."

All aspects of government in all areas of the UK is Westminster's problem. Not just the easy to reach places.
Posted by fibrebunny over 6 years ago
Figures for per head spending are at best disingenuous as they bear no relation to cost. I would doubt the full costs of deployment in England are being met either as the Government is trying to do it on the cheap. With no figure for deployment costs in England then comparisons on amounts allocated are largely meaningless. Save for those of a tabloid mentality of course.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
camieabz it may have escaped your attention but Scotland has it s own devolved government so primary responsibility for Broadband in Scitland is with them
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Not really fibrebunny, as it can give a "ish" view of distribution in the absence of any proper frame of reference.
Given GVA in Scotland is similar to the England, but Wales is 25% less, then the fact that Wales receives an improved per head figure makes sense as they do not have the spending power. Whilst Scotland receives an improved figure (over England) based on geographical problems and England receives the least based on the least problems (although I'm sure some will disagree). NI has had the EU injection totalling £52M so they do very well at £28 per head.
Posted by billyliar over 6 years ago
I agree with what Camieabz says but it also a bit rich for the Scottish Govt to have a pop at Westminster without putting up any cash themselves.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
If you do the sums, with expected matched funding from private partners, with the £68.8M and £40M pro-rated, it's going to be £218M which is a little more than 2/3rds of what they would like. Unless, the £300M is the subsidy requirement... in which case £600M would be needed...
Posted by billyliar over 6 years ago
£300M is the figure for the Highlands and Islands only.
Posted by kjmacisaac over 6 years ago
"I agree with what Camieabz says but it also a bit rich for the Scottish Govt to have a pop at Westminster without putting up any cash themselves."
Where does the Scottish Parliment money come from?
Posted by rizla over 6 years ago
"I agree with what Camieabz says but it also a bit rich for the Scottish Govt to have a pop at Westminster without putting up any cash themselves."

According to the Government Expenditure & Revenues (Scotland) report, it gets less than it spends from taxation generated within Scotland. Excluding oil duty (but not corp tax for oil companies domiciled in Scotland) Scotland generates a £1.5bn surplus which is not returned to the Scots Parliament. With oil duties its considerably more.

Do feel free to continue with your Daily Heil little Englander mentality though...
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
Scotland actually get three billion pound more than it contributes and that is only the Barnett funding it excludes defence, benefits, & pensions and other centrally funded service.
Posted by EnglishHighlander over 6 years ago
Looking at subsidies - currently I'm subsidising every other phone line user who receives more than 0.6mbps download. I'm also subsidising every aol customer with a faster upload time than 0.3mbps. I should complain? I did! But am reminded that I should be subsiding everyone else by paying the same costs because I live rurally.
Posted by EnglishHighlander over 6 years ago, from me personally, if the baseline rate is 2mbps and for arguement's sake I'm receiving 0.5mbps then my monthly line rental should reflect this - say...£3/month and my broadband say £4 a month. So, over this year alone, I have subsidised to the tune of £262! If this exercise were undertaken by all those who receive less than the proposed baseline, per year I'm sure it would make the government's proposed investment look laughable.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Why? The cost of line itself to the provider is the same if you were getting 20Mbps or 0.1Mbps

Your not subbing anyone
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
if anything user on a market 1 full market 3 exchange that dont move to a LUU provide (or a ISP that charges less for market3) are subidising market 1 and 2 users
Posted by billyliar over 6 years ago
@Rizla @kjmacisaac
What I'm getting at is that the SG sets it's own spending priorities and so far it is not allocating money to broadband in any form. IF it is a priority then they should be allocating funding/resources towards it.

and for the record.... I'm Scottish....(and rarely post on this forum).
Posted by David-Park over 6 years ago
They are now a seperate country with their own government why should they get any of my English money at all.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
The fact that it cost more to provide Broadband inthe Highland & Islands is the Scottish governments problem. The Westminster funding has been broadly split ona population basis
Posted by elgeebar over 6 years ago
So what should happen then is the Scottish Government should declare full independence, keep all the tax & oil revenues up here instead of sending them south and subsidising the rest of Britain to the tune of over £1.5BN... all so we can fund rural broadband properly!!!

Whose money????

and for the record... I'm English... Living in Scotland.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I think we are waaaaaaaaaaay OT here but I thought the scots relied on us for defence? i.e. they have none of their own, doubt they'll be full independence any time soon
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
In common with most of the rest of the UK outside of London & South East England, Scotland receives more in funding that it raises in tax. Only the three UK regions in the south east of England generate a surplus and subsidise the rest of the UK when you take into account all spending.
Posted by domhnall20 over 6 years ago
@New_Londoner wrong. Scotland has been in surplus for the last 4 years. Scotland has no tax varying power - it lapsed. had it been used it would have cut the block grant so they could not raise any extra money. Telecoms is reserved to Westminster so Edinburgh has no power to dabble.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Wrong? Not according to the ONS!
Posted by rgenung over 6 years ago
Maybe OT, but they want to go it alone on eerything else, so let them raise their own Army and pay for their own broadband. (In the meantime, get their MPs out of the English Parliament, and let them do as they please!)
Posted by scottie4642 over 6 years ago
Exactly what tax raising powers do the Scots have?
Posted by domhnall20 over 6 years ago
at present, no tax powers at all, they lapsed never having been used. HMRC wanted £millions per year to maintain the systems.
Posted by domhnall20 over 6 years ago
@rgenung many of us serve in the UK forces so it's not simply a matter of raise a new army, more of splitting the UK army up
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
@domhnall20 or they create their own army and give the option to serve either?
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
On reflection, if the Scottish Parliement is unhappy with the BDUK allocation than I think it should demonstrate this by handing the money back. ;-)
Posted by elgeebar over 6 years ago
Oh dumb dumb dumb... why did I have to feed the trolls!
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