Smith Hails EU Rural Broadband Boost

01 May 2008
Alyn Smith MEP for Scotland has hailed the decision to authorise ÂŁ3.4 million of EU money to improve broadband in remote and rural areas of Scotland.

Mr Smith, an active campaigner for better broadband throughout remote and rural Scotland, has written to the Minister for Enterprise Jim Mather, to make him aware of the potential windfall and to urge the Scottish Government to apply to the fund.

After consulting evidence regarding public funding of broadband provisions, the Commissioner Neelie Kroes concluded that this is necessary to provide affordable services to the population of rural Scotland. At the same time, the measure contains several safeguards to ensure that the aid amount is for the benefit of the consumer and not the telecommunication operators.

Alyn Smith said:

"The SNP in government and the European Parliament has long been campaigning for better broadband, and this EU money will be crucial to bridge the broadband divide that is growing between rural and urban Scotland.

"It is clear that there is not the same financial incentive for telecommunication operators to invest in rural areas as opposed to urban areas. That is why this package will be vital towards bridging the gap in services.

"If you live in remote and rural Scotland, and pay the same for broadband services as those living in urban areas, then you should be entitled to the same standard and quality of service.

"The SNP Government and the Minister for Enterprise, Jim Mather, have already made great strides towards improving broadband services in remote and rural Scotland, and I am sure this announcement will be warmly welcomed."