Scottish Government
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Rural broadband

Funding worth £5million was announced yesterday by Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil to help kickstart a South of Scotland Alliance (SOSA) project which aims to deliver Next Generation broadband across the region by 2020.

The initial allocation to SOSA is part of the Scottish Government's £144.3 million funding pot intended to cover all of Scotland.

Mr Neil said:

"We have set out our ambition for all of Scotland to have access to next generation broadband by 2020, with significant progress to be made by 2015.

"Meeting the challenge of delivering this service to rural areas in particular is a key priority of our Digital Strategy. Access to Next Generation broadband will prove hugely beneficial to the South of Scotland, helping existing business to expand, attracting new businesses to the area and connecting communities.

"SOSA shares that vision and I am pleased that we are able to work in partnership to help make it a reality.

"This funding allocation is an acknowledgement of the particular issues facing the remote and rural parts of the Scottish economy and of the collaborative efforts being made by colleagues in the South of Scotland to progress an improved digital infrastructure. It is designed to get the project up and running and will lever in further funding - both public and private - in the future."

The Scottish Government is currently developing a national broadband plan for Scotland and will make an announcement on this early in the new year.

Tracey Logan, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council and member of the SOSA Project Board, said:

"At the rate of technological development, we absolutely cannot underestimate the importance of ensuring we can secure Next Generation Broadband services for the South of Scotland.

"This initial investment will enable us to move towards providing essential services to every one of our rural communities."

SoSA is a strategic partnership of Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Councils. The South of Scotland Next Generation Broadband Project has additional partners in NHS Borders, NHS Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Government.