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Banffshire communities urged to apply for broadband scheme


By Kyle Ritchie

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A voucher scheme will be launched next month to help both residential and business premises ensure they can access superfast broadband of at least 30 Megabits per second (Mbps).

The move has been launched by the Scottish Government to help support areas where there are no plans to bring superfast broadband to addresses by the end of 2021.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the move and is encouraging businesses and residential premises to apply for the scheme.

The scheme will help people access faster internet.
The scheme will help people access faster internet.

Businesses with addresses that are either not in scope for a signed Reaching 100 per cent (R100) contract nor for planned commercial investment prior to the 2021 deadline will be eligible for a main voucher.

It will provide up to £5000 per address – including those in the north of Scotland where roll-out plans are still to be firmed up.

Meanwhile residential premises – where superfast broadband plans are known but not likely to be deployed until after 2021 – will be able to access support of up to £400.

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse said: “We will also ensure that those in the most difficult-to-reach locations can secure vital connectivity by providing an additional subsidy of £250.

“This will not prevent the deployment of the planned R100 intervention for those premises, for example where fibre to the premises is ultimately scheduled under the R100 programme, but will allow customers to access an interim superfast service using alternative technologies while the build on the longer-term solution is undertaken.”

Vouchers can be used to cover the cost of installation association with securing a service across a range of superfast-capable technologies including fibre, fixed wireless, mobile broadband and satellite.

MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “I am pleased the Scottish Government has set out its plans to help support business and residential premises where superfast broadband roll-out will not be accessible before December 31, 2021.

“It is important we continue to provide the best access we can – particularly in rural areas – as roll-out continues.

“This voucher scheme is of a level exceeding any other in the UK for broadband and I would encourage anyone who may be eligible to apply.

“This is an interim step which will allow for alternative technologies while the Scottish Government continues its work on the longer-term solutions.”

People are able to ascertain their eligibility for the scheme through the online checker which has launched. It can be found at www.scotlandsuperfast.com

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