Fife Council says it’s extending Superfast Broadband coverage to drive digital inclusion, develop new businesses and open up tourism opportunities in rural areas.
It’s set to benefit from a one-off investment of £150,000 to support the development of alternative ways to extend broadband coverage, as well as extra funding for Wi-Fi deployments to benefit rural Fife.
This new focus been designed to address the remaining 1.6% of Fife premises not included in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) rollout already taking place across the Kingdom.
According to the Council, this will increase the percentage of premises in Fife with access to fibre broadband beyond the 98.4% forecasted by the Scottish Government.
Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) brings fast fibre broadband to areas where commercial infrastructure providers have chosen not to develop, and is already changing the way we work, learn and enjoy our leisure time.
The Council says these developments are enabling businesses to trade more effectively and access new markets, as well as allowing employees to collaborate, innovate, work remotely and access cloud computing.
For the few areas that will not see any benefit through DSSB, Fife Council is working with Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) and community groups to devise other ways of delivering faster broadband.
Fife Council and the newly formed Community Initiatives North East Fife have joined forces with CBS to ensure that residents and businesses in North East Fife that will not be reached by the Digital Scotland Programme, or commercial deployments, still get the advantages of better broadband.
The additional funding provided by Fife Council match-funds the £99,400 that the North East Fife Area Committee agreed to contribute from the Local Community Planning Budget to support the North East Fife Superfast Broadband project earlier in 2015.
Cllr Lesley Laird, depute leader and executive spokesperson economy and planning, said: “Fast internet access is essential for Fife-based firms and residents to increase connectivity, boost business growth and drive competitiveness.
“That’s why Fife Council is investing in this new infrastructure that will further transform the ability of Fife to attract investment, create jobs and help make Fife the best place to do business.
“The additional funding and new projects are crucial steps in enabling people across Fife to get connected at home or work any time, using any device.”
A similar project in south west Fife is being considered and a consultation is set to take place – this would help to reduce social inequalities through digital inclusion and increase the number of people who are work-ready in the area.
Fife Council is also working with the Scottish Futures Trust to further deploy Wi-Fi and apply to the Scottish Government for additional funding from the £1.5 million funding recently announced to enhance digital participation, improve rural connectivity and the uptake of online public services.
Digital Scotland’s interactive map can be used to find out when Superfast Broadband is coming to any particular area.
Further support for residents and community groups on how to access the internet is available through the Council’s Digital Inclusion initiative Digital Fife.
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