Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Peter Peacock will today stress the need and make the case for significant new investment in broadband in his area.
Following a trip to Rutland Telecom to learn the lessons of its broadband expansion service yesterday, Mr Peacock is in London meeting Rob Sullivan, head of BDUK, the government’s delivery vehicle for broadband policies.
An official from the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will also attend the meeting, at which Mr Peacock will set out a number of challenges facing the Highlands and Islands and potential policy solutions.
He has been campaigning for better broadband over many months and has met communities and agencies in his campaign to win new funding for the area.
Mr Peacock said, “There is a vital necessity for improvement in broadband in the region. Despite the recent slowing down of investment plans by the new government, there is still a sum of money on the table for investment and I want to make the case for some of that coming to the Highlands and Islands.
“We know that we face the greatest challenges in delivering high speed broadband, but we also know there are solutions in sight to the problems.
“However, we need some money to oil the wheels. We know that the private markets will not provide the services we need because of our relatively low population and high costs of infrastructure investment, because of our geography.”
Mr Peacock said he would be stressing in the meeting that some of the solutions to the challenges were known, that there was previous public investment to build on, and there was experience in the region in developing leading edge technology solutions.
He said: “The need for public interventions to support broadband roll-out is not going to disappear, so the quicker we get on with it the better. That way we give the Highlands and Islands a competitive advantage, instead of having to play catch-up years down the road.”