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Conflict Between Westminster and Scottish Government Over Broadband Rollout Continues


There has been growing tension between the Scottish and UK government over the level superfast broadband coverage in Scotland with disputes first surfacing towards the back end of 2017.

Scotland has now claimed to have achieved the target for coverage in 95% of the country but this has caused issues.

Since the beginning of the high-speed internet rollouts in the UK it has often been the case that local authorities involved have caused some confusion with regard to the progress of each deployment. What generally seems to cause the confusion is the way in which both local and national authorities judge and determine coverage and performance of the rollout. The problem is cropping up in many different places across the UK, but the most recent conflict is in relation to Digital Scotland project.

Keith Brown, Scotland’s Economy Secretary, said:

“The latest coverage figures are currently being assured, but we shortly expect to be able to confirm that our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme achieved its target of extending fibre broadband access to 95 per cent of homes and premises by the end of 2017.”

The cause of confusion comes down to the choice of terms that people choose to use. Culture and Digital secretary Matt Hancock took issue with the statement by drawing attention to the fact the Scotland’s use of the term “fibre broadband” did not equate to “superfast broadband” that is generally used.

. The UK government’s plan was to have 95% of England connected to “superfast broadband” before 2018. The definition for superfast broadband has been described as any connection with download speeds that exceed 24Mbps. To make matters even more confusing both the EU and Ofcom define superfast broadband as having speeds greater than 30Mbps and most projection currently being undertaken in Wales and England share that definition.

Figures taken from Think Broadband's data of 2017 help to shine a little more light on the question of whether Scotland really has achieved its target. The figures show that although Scotland does have 96.60% of coverage when it comes to fibre broadband connectivity, they fall just behind of the superfast definition with only 93.1% able to connect to speeds of 24Mbps+.

Michael Quinn
Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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