Community Broadband plans ended by Scottish Government

It has been decided by the Highland and Islands Enterprise that the Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) scheme which was set up to provide broadband to the most far flung communities in Scotland should be terminated.

CBS has instead decided for change and will be reinvented as the HIE Digital Communities Team. This new venture will aim to assist the rollout of ongoing CBS ventures while at the same time helping the Scottish Government’s new R100 plan to connect 100% of Scotland to “Superfast Broadband” by March 2022.

The disbandment of the CBS was anticipated as it would have eventually have come into contention with the R100 plan which has just pledged £600m to connect all of Scotland to speeds of 30Mbps+.

HIE head of communities and infrastructure Zoe Laird, said,

“We thank all of the communities who have engaged with CBS for their support, hard work and passion over the years. Some fantastic results have been achieved and the R100 programme looks set to have a transformative impact and truly bridge the digital divide.”

CBS supported numerous communities financially which generally assisted in establishing alternative broadband solutions in their communities. Between 20-30 different towns or villages received or applied for funding but many of those complained about the process and the length of time it took to secure financing.

The Scottish Government are currently running procurement for the R100 scheme and this thought to continue until the end of the year. Information regarding which technology will probably be disclosed towards the back end of 2018 or the beginning for 2019 which coincides with the culmination of BT Open Reach and Digital Scotland’s contract.