High speed digital connectivity is an essential part of Scotland’s 21st century infrastructure - an enabler of both economic and community benefits. Superfast, or Next Generation Broadband (NGB) will contribute to business competitiveness, and aid the sustainability and growth of fragile communities, not least by improving remote delivery of public services.
It will enable new forms of remote working, enhance education opportunities and lifestyle choices in rural communities. It will also contribute to sector growth in areas such as digital healthcare, business services, tourism and creative industries.
HIE, in partnership with BT, is leading the largest and most complex broadband deployment project in the UK as part of the Scottish Government’s superfast broadband programme. This will deliver NGB to 84% of premises across the region by 2016. We are also working to identify funding and technical solutions that will provide the remaining 16% of premises with the same world class provision by 2020. As part of this we manage Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) in the provision of digital solutions to communities across Scotland. Future investments in digital infrastructure will focus on identifying and addressing creative solutions to improve the resilience, reach and quality of mobile coverage across the region.
While installing the infrastructure is essential to the region’s long-term competitiveness, equally important will be ensuring that the region maximises the benefits of digital connectivity. We will build on our existing IT engagement activities and provide a range of specialist online and face-to-face support and advice to businesses and communities to enable them to exploit enhanced connectivity.
We will also establish a Digital Excellence Centre in Inverness to bring the latest technologies to the attention of businesses.