THE boost to rural broadband funding announced in last week’s Scottish government budget has been welcomed.
The announcement was made by Finance Secretary John Swinney in the final stage of the Budget Bill 2012-13. He said an additional £40 million is to be diverted to increasing the digital infrastructure in rural areas to support faster internet access.
The cash exceeds that set out in the Spending Review, and forms part of a £94 million fund for local authorities to boost economic recovery. The remaining £54 million capital funding for economic growth will be distributed among councils in education, transport, waste, environment and regeneration.
South of Scotland MSP Aileen McLeod welcomed the announcement. She said: “I am delighted the Scottish government has made available this additional funding for digital infrastructure.
“Improving access to faster broadband in our rural areas means more people can either work from home, or run their business more effectively in remote locations. This helps boost the economy in smaller communities as people are not restricted to larger towns or cities for employment.
“Dumfries and Galloway Council is a key player in the south of Scotland broadband project. With a digital infrastructure which is faster and more efficient we can help businesses to grow and develop in our region and, I hope, attract more people to work and live here.”