Scotland get £35M for BDUK pilot

According to Optical Reflection, the Scottish Highlands and Islands project will receive £35M of the £530M available, to connect 20 market towns in the region.

The submission to BDUK from the area includes using existing infrastructure installed as part of the Pathfinder North project to schools and libraries, and targeting the Final Third First. An approach the submission calls ‘outside in’ and which some of us have been pushing for f or years. After all, if rural areas are desperate for better broadband, use it more, and take-up is higher, then surely the low hanging fruit are not in urban areas at all?
Looking at the map of Scotland which shows where existing fibre can be used, where new fibre is required, and where FiWi or (god forbid) some copper will bring connectivity, it would seem that this first tranche of money will do a considerable proportion of the required Final Third First. 
However, it is to be hoped that the definition of next generation access given in the Di gital Scotland blog is to be amended, as >16Mbps is NOT next generation. It’s first generation, and it is only because the incumbent and telcos have been so slippery with their marketing techniques that anyone would even believe so, especially when all evidence from abroad is contrary to this definition.
I hope Scotland will look to putting in a minimum of a 1Gig feed to each community, not 1/2Gig. After all, individual consumers are getting 1Gig in a number of countries around the world TODAY, and setting the bar so low from the outset fails to appreciate what a fully articulated network can do. There also needs to be an understanding of how moving from the scarcity model (which the telcos love) to abundance (which consumers love) brings the costs per bit moved to approaching zero – a fact the telcos seem determined to keep hidden.
Now is the time to stop pandering to marketing hype, to lies, to myths and to conjecture about what consumers want and need. Now is the time for Scotland and the other pilots to use the money wisely, innovatively, and invest for the next generations.
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