Telecommunications firms will soon be able to benefit from 100% non-domestic rates relief on new fibre broadband infrastructure to help them make the business case to install in Scotland.
The rates relief for businesses investing in new infrastructure, which comes into effect on 1 April, will last for ten years - five years longer than the UK Government’s fibre broadband package.
Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse visited a CityFibre excavation in Stirling to announce the rates relief and see some of the work already underway to enhance Scotland’s digital infrastructure.
Mr Wheelhouse said:
“We have been listening to industry on what will help them play their part in delivering our ambitions and are determined that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of the digital revolution.
“Infrastructure and connectivity are fundamental to creating digitally-enabled growth in our economy so I am delighted to announce that from 1 April, we will provide non-domestic rates relief on all newly laid fibre. This significant commitment will help create long-term skilled jobs and make Scotland the best place to invest in digital infrastructure in the UK.
“Full fibre investment projects like CityFibre’s in Stirling complement the Scottish Government’s target of ensuring access to a minimum of superfast broadband for each and every premises in Scotland. Despite telecoms being a reserved matter, we will build on the success of the £400 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, investing a further £600 million to ensure Scotland is at the forefront of digital connectivity through our Reaching 100% or R100 programme. I hope that businesses will take advantage of this relief, increasing their investment in Scotland whilst contributing to inclusive growth in Scotland’s economy.”
Elaine Doherty, city development manager for CityFibre in Stirling, added: "This announcement by the Scottish Government demonstrates its support for full fibre, as well as its commitment to supporting us as we deliver state-of-the-art networks at scale. Measures such as this ensure that Scotland continues to be an attractive place for private investment so that residents and businesses can all receive the benefits of full fibre.
"The roll-out of our multi-million-pound network upgrades in Stirling, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are gathering momentum and users are already seeing benefits such as download speeds 20 times faster and upload speeds 150 times faster than the average connection. Full fibre is the gateway to increasing economic growth by stimulating business innovation and productivity, creating jobs, increasing property values and more."