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Scottish government told to "cheer up" over broadband funding
Monday 22 August 2011 14:55:01 by John Hunt

The Scottish Government has been told to "cheer up" after they were disappointed at receiving nearly £70 million from the UK government to help fund broadband services in the country. Alex Neil, the Scottish Infrastructure Secretary, last week week explained how the money that had been allocated had fallen short of the £300 million that is needed by the country to help deliver broadband across the Highlands and Islands, let alone the rest of the country.

The funds allocated were some £25 million more than would have been available if the funding allocation had been based on population size rather than other factors. The UK Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, urged the Government to take action and get delivering rather than looking for the negatives.

"The Scottish Government needs to be more upbeat. It takes a rather sour outlook to turn nearly £70 million into a setback. Cheer up for goodness' sake and get on with delivering the improvements to our rural communities.

Instead of looking for the negative, they should step up and meet the challenge of matching UK Government investment in broadband for our rural communities. If they do that, we can move towards achieving the target of 90% of Scottish premises having superfast broadband - and everyone having access to at least 2Mbps - by 2015.

If they don't invest then they will be failing Scotland's rural communities and businesses."

Michael Moore, (Scottish Secretary)

Alex Neil, who originally spoke of the disappointment of the funding responded to Mr Moore's statement as follows.

"We do find it funny that Mr Moore, as Secretary of State for Scotland, appears unaware that this funding allocation doesn't reflect the fact that Scotland has a third of the UK landmass and some of the most remote areas in these islands."

Alex Neil, (Member of the Scottish Parliament) response


Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
As per my comment on ISPReview, Scotland may indeed have "a third of the UK landmass and some of the most remote areas in these islands", however it also has less than 12% of the UK population. Surprising Alex Neil forgot to mention that!
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Apportionment of such funds is always going to be contentious. But it is called BDUK so it needs to be divided up between all fairly, but not disproportionately.
i.e. everyone gets less than they hoped, because their isn't enough to go round.
English counties have already said they haven't received anywhere near enough.
So Scotland is not a special case in receiving less than they want and the reality is there is no justifiable reason for Scotland to get a disproportionate amount of funds.
The only way they would get more is to deprive other areas of their funding.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
The BDUK allocation for UK counties worked on a spreadsheet model using data on the current situation and a range of solutions appropriate to different circumstances. It wasn't "per head". No idea how they came up with the Scottish bung.

Scotland & Wales have both spent broadband money in the past (EU ?) that wasn't replicated in England.
Posted by lockyatlrg over 5 years ago
Cry alone Scotland to be honest.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
For those saying that Scotland should receive Scottish GDP, in fact you do get at least that.
UK 2010 GDP £1430B
Scotland 2010 GDP £140B including oil and gas
or ~10% of total UK GDP.

So like I said, Scotland doess get a good deal.
By two points of reference, population and GDP.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
If the above two formula worked then London's allocation (12.5% of the population, 21% GDP) would get rather more than its £0 allocation (with no chance of EU funding either).
Posted by jtthedevil over 5 years ago
Again, the whole point of this money is to get the final third connected. London is excluded because, as you point out, it has 12.5% of the population in a reasonably condensed area, therefore BT Virgin etc are more likely to upgrade it on their own. If anything it will speed up deployment in populated areas, as they now know there's no more funding coming, they can get on with deployment. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have such dense population centres, but where there is they will be provided and don't need this money, but outlying communities do.
Posted by bjmccourt over 5 years ago
The OpenSignalMap "snapshot" of the UK has no surprises. England is properly covered - why should there not be similar service in NGB? Paying for it, now there's the rub. Oh I know, of course - the tax from Scotland's oil will deal with that thorny problem. That's what it's there for. To allow "the UK" to reach its "full 21st Century potential". Invest resources in "worthy projects" like The London Olympics or the Canary Wharf Project or the Upgraded Superspeed Railway line. So for goodness sake Scots - cheer up - remember "We're all in this together"!
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Sady the "tax from Scotland's oil" does not cover the difference between the teax raised by taxpayers in Scotland and the public funds expended in Scotland. It would be great if we were all in this together, however most of the UK continues to be subsidised by taxpayers in the south east of England and London.

And that's before considering the HBOS, RBS bailouts!
Posted by 21again over 5 years ago
"If they do that, we can move towards achieving the target of 90% of Scottish premises having superfast broadband - and everyone having access to at least 2Mbps - by 2015."

In reality it is likely to be 50% of Scottish premises will have access to faster broadband and the rest will get what they already have as the exchanges will still be 20th century relics.
Posted by mickerickerous over 5 years ago
Lots of nationalistic sniping on both sides does not alter the fact that 10% of population in 30% of land area clearly means line provision charges will be at least 300% higher than 90% of population in 70% of land area, so its reasonable to argue that the settlement is inequitable.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Not really, the basis of BDUK is to allow the MOST people to get connected who would not likely be. Not the least in the most least viable areas. If funds were directed to the highest provision charges then they would be remiss in their project directive. Scotland unfortunately has a lot of 10% to be left out that was never considered part of the BDUK project.
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