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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09835: Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 June 2017

To ask the Scottish Government how the R100 open market review will help communities that are currently waiting at the bottom of a queue for Community Broadband Scotland funding.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 19 July 2017

Broadband, like defence and foreign affairs, is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament. Despite this, the Scottish Government has committed to extending superfast broadband access to 100% of premises by 2021 through the Reaching 100% (R100) programme.

The R100 Open Market Review is identifying those premises that do not currently have access to superfast broadband, and those for which there are no commercial delivery plans over the next three years. This information will then form the basis of a draft ‘intervention area’, which will be tested through a State Aid Public Consultation. This is a necessary precursor to public sector investment in broadband infrastructure, and will allow initial procurements to be launched later this year.

We expect that communities will then have the choice of continuing with their current proposals, or waiting on the outcome of initial R100 procurements. This would be a decision for the communities themselves. The State Aid process outlined above has the flexibility to allow a reasonable timescale for the Community Broadband Scotland schemes in the current pipeline to make a decision as to how they would like to proceed.