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Scots demand next-generation broadband

Antony Savvas

There is huge demand for next-generation broadband in Scotland, although like the rest of the UK there is a severe shortage of fibre connectivity to the home to allow it.

More than three quarters (84%) of the online population in Scotland want high speed downloads, and even more (87%) would like TV and films on demand, according to a survey commissioned by Mott MacDonald, a management and engineering consultancy.

Yet less than 0.01% of households in the UK have a fibre network to the home, which would allow access to next-generation broadband to deliver these services, compared to 7% in Norway and 37% in South Korea.

The survey of 1,030 adults in Scotland, conducted online by YouGov, also highlighted that Scots want access to online services such as video calls (63%) and remote healthcare (61%). In addition, two thirds (71%) would like high speed broadband to access virtual learning tools.

Tom Allen, director of the information, communications and media division at Mott MacDonald, said, "Although BT has announced plans to invest £1.5bn to build a high-speed fibre access network to deliver broadband services across the UK, it brings up questions on its suitability to Scotland.

"With its own government, Scotland has the power to invest in its own fibre network, and the strong central belt [including Glasgow and Edinburgh] provides an area rich with urban developments and businesses making a publicly owned venture worthwhile."

He said, "The roll-out of high-speed broadband is going to be key to the future of the Scottish economy. It will allow the country's businesses to grow and innovate and give households the access to the information and services that other countries already receive."


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