Calls for Broadband improvement

Councillors will be asked on Thursday to invest £18 million over three years towards improving broadband across Aberdeenshire.

Within the UK, rural Scotland’s broadband services are among the poorest and in Aberdeenshire, 17% of all addresses (19,374 premises) widely dispersed across over 2,000 different postcodes, have a slow internet connection. This is insufficient to undertake many essential applications such as remote working, tele-health and video streaming.

It is recognised that access to high speed broadband is essential to support a robust local economy and deliver educational benefits, as well as offering important social interactions particularly in remote and rural areas.

The Scottish Government has begun a procurement programme to deliver upgraded infrastructure capable of delivering much-improved broadband speeds to 75% of premises by the end of 2015.

Aberdeenshire Council recognises that the provision of a broadband service of at least 2Mbits to all premises should be a priority and will focus its resources in this area.

Independent co-ordinator, Central Buchan councillor Norman Smith explained: “Most households and businesses are becoming highly reliant on broadband services and we must take action on this issue now to ensure that Aberdeenshire remains an attractive place to live and to do business.”