The Scottish government has outlined plans for high speed broadband investment which could see significant benefits, including increased potential for business VoIP (voice over internet protocol), by 2015.
The specially titled ‘Infrastructure Action Plan’ has at its ultimate aim the establishment of ‘world-class digital access’ for the whole of Scotland by 2020. However, the plan also involves a ‘step change’ for the country by 2015, whereby the availability of speeds of between 40 and 80 Mbps is intended for up to 90% of all premises; together with a general improvement in overall speeds for remaining premises.
Under the plan, £185 million of public funds will be committed to developing this high speed broadband infrastructure across Scotland; with further funds expected from private business sources.
In the short-term, the Scottish government is demonstrating the strength of its commitment by setting aside a ‘seed fund’ of £5 million by April; to be allocated to any local initiatives and ‘innovative solutions’ which appear to contain possible benefits for the wider community.
Expressing his support for the plan’s potential to enhance social cohesion in Scotland, the infrastructure spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party, Richard Baker, added:
‘Delivering world-class infrastructure is crucial…for our economy and the small businesses which rely on high-speed broadband to remain competitive’.
Given that the average broadband speed for the UK is just 6.8 Mbps, the plan to provide most of Scotland with speeds of up to 80 Mbps, looks likely to be welcomed by many of the small businesses referred to by Mr Baker.
This is not least because business VoIP – one of the facilities currently identified by many companies across the UK as a major priority – relies strongly on such a suitably high capacity and ultra-fast broadband capability.