Earlier this year, Scottish Government announced that it has struck a deal with BT to upgrade a further eight rural telephone exchanges. The exchanges in seven areas - Dumfries and Galloway, Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, Argyll and Bute, Moray, Caithness and Sutherland and the Scottish Borders - are currently operating at, or approaching, full capacity for broadband provision. BT is already upgrading 71 similar exchanges across Scotland.
The Scottish Government also announced that since July 2009, it had been able to include over 300 late registrants into the Broadband Reach Project. The project has now successfully provided over 2400 households and businesses, located throughout Scotland, with a broadband connection to the internet for the first time.
The Broadband Reach Project has now closed, and no further Scottish Government subsidy for broadband connections is available.
The Exchange Activate Upgrade Programme is now complete and the Scottish Government provides further details on braodband on their website.
Broadband was one of the main subjects for discussion at the Tourism and Enterprise meeting in early 2011. The UK Government has recently published its new broadband strategy. The strategy sets out the Government’s vision for broadband in the UK. It also includes details on how Broadband Delivery UK will be investing the £530m secured as part of the Spending Review.
On October 22 2010 the Scottish Government published A Digital Ambition for Scotland, which summarises the Government's plans and ambitions for the digital economy.
It was followed by Scotland's Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland on March 3 2011, which sets out how the Scottish Government will ensure Scotland takes full advantage of digital technology.
The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee has made a call for views in relation to its work on the availability and roll-out of broadband in Scotland.
The Committee has agreed, as a first step, to undertake a scoping exercise to identify the key issues relating to broadband in Scotland. The exercise may result in the identification of issues which require immediate action or recommendations. It may also raise issues that the Committee considers merit further, more detailed examination, which could be taken forward separately as inquiry topics in their own right.
Scottish Land & Estates are currently collating a response to the call which closes on the 18th of November 2011.