Households which have already applied for the £5,000 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme can link up with the UK Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme to claim a top-up without having to make a retrospective application.
This means homes and businesses could receive an extra £1,500 and £3,500 respectively from the UK Government on top of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.
The vouchers are available to all properties that will not have access to the SNP Government’s delayed R100 programme, which is on course to fail in its target of connecting all of Scotland to broadband by 2021.
The Scottish Government and BT only agreed the contract to deliver superfast broadband across the Highlands in December 2020.
Edward Mountain MSP has said the Scottish Government’s dithering on the procurement process means that “broadband will not be rolled out in full until at least 2026 or 2027.”
Edward Mountain MSP commented:
“I welcome the UK Government’s top-up to the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme. This additional funding could really help those properties which were finding the cost of connecting to broadband unaffordable and just out of reach.
I am also pleased for the Minister’s clarification that applicants will not have to make a retrospective application in order to receive the top-up from the UK Government.
The pandemic has taught us how vital the internet is for doing business, working from home and staying in touch with family.
However, it is deeply frustrating for many Highlanders that they are having to apply for vouchers when they were promised a full-fibre connection by 2021. This is yet another broken SNP promise to the Highlands.
Broadband will not be rolled out in full until at least 2026 or 2027, given the SNP’s Government has only just signed the procurement contract to deliver fibre broadband to the Highlands.
The SNP’s dithering and delay has left our region without the vital infrastructure it needs right now.”