Scottish Government ‘failing’ rural communities with broadband approach

Commsworld CTO says mission to provide superfast broadband to 100% of properties is a pipe dream

One of Scotland’s foremost tech experts has slammed the Scottish Government’s approach to providing broadband to rural communities – and is calling for it to stop ignoring smaller suppliers.
Charlie Boisseau, chief technology officer at Edinburgh-based Commsworld, has spoken out following a report by Scottish Rural Action (SRA), criticising Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), a government initiative led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise for its sole reliance on BT-partnered programmes.
Boisseau believes the mission to provide superfast broadband to 100% of properties by 2020 is, at this stage, a pipe dream.
He said: “It would be difficult to disagree that the government has failed in its mission to provide broadband.
“Whether any one party can be blamed for this shortfall is open to discussion but if any progress is to be made in providing everyone with ‘superfast broadband’ the government must open the building of network infrastructures to more companies.”
Commsworld, which criticised the decision not to split BT and Openreach earlier this year, says it hopes to see further attention paid to the rapidly advancing capabilities of smaller service providers.
Boisseau added: “Even with significant government subsidies rural areas are of little to no interest to tier one providers like Openreach who stand to gain little from what is, comparative to city infrastructure projects, a lot of work.
“So, although these projects are of vital political and local importance, the biggest providers will always leave the highlanders and islanders to last. That is if they pay them much heed at all.”
Boisseau went on to warn that without a revision in the current project those outwith the main business hubs would suffer from a poorer service and slower speeds.
He continued: “While larger companies may offer a cheaper service for the provision of broadband in the main it is our view that the use of smaller companies to ‘fill in the gaps’ they leave behind could establish a network that is a lot closer to meeting the Government’s ambitious aims than the system currently in place.
“For this to work though, they must stop merely paying lip service to smaller providers and throw all their resources into getting companies of various sizes working on making Scotland a more connected country.”
Founded in 1994, Commsworld, which employs 63, is Scotland’s leading telecommunications network provider, providing customers with a full range of integrated communications solutions.
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