Media diary date
A HARD-hitting manifesto and broadband working party report will be unveiled in Edinburgh on Thursday (September 8) by Scottish Rural Action.
The documents will be launched at a media conference in the Amsterdam Suite of the Apex Grassmarket Hotel at 11am and will be debated at the Scottish Rural Parliament which meets in Brechin in October.
The SRA Broadband Working Group makes the following recommendations:
1. The Scottish Government should redirect resources to quickly facilitate the provision of community/national backhaul, local backbone networks and community hubs to support access networks. This will prime the pump for Internet Service Providers to provide connectivity either commercially or through community projects, possibly including State Aid-funded projects.
2. The Scottish Government, having made the commitment to reach 100 per cent super-fast coverage, should accept that this is a stepping stone to ultra-fast speeds and ensure that there are clear upgrade paths available to all rural networks.
3. Rural communities should be supported through access to specialist advice according to their needs. This might include business planning, technical advice, help with funding, legal guidance regarding way leaves and other support. There needs to be a mechanism for accessing this support and sharing knowledge amongst community projects in a collaborative way, and not through the current Community Broadband Scotland approach, which has blocked many projects rather than facilitate them.
4. Existing rural broadband and rural initiatives and resources should be coordinated to best respond to rural broadband requirements and overcome obstacles that currently impede rural broadband deployment. These should be addressed and managed by the team responsible for reaching 100 per cent, as a singly managed project, with clear accountability for delivery.
5. There should be a Scottish Broadband Conference, using an Open Space-type of facilitation, that brings together all stakeholders, including Scottish Government, community projects, network providers and suppliers, to evaluate the status quo and share views and solutions.
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