Digital Connectivity vital for COVID-19 economic recovery

Published Date: 

25 Jun 2020 - 14:13

A report to Argyll and Bute’s Business Continuity Committee has highlighted the need for greater digital connectivity across the area to help with economic and wider recovery following the pandemic.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead for Economic Growth:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the critical importance of having reliable digital connectivity across Argyll and Bute. A reliable network has been essential for the council to continue to provide vital services.

Our Community Planning Partnership, communities, volunteers and private sector have made great use of the existing digital network but there still remains gaps in the quality and coverage of the connection that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

Our communities can be assured of our support in developing the high quality digital infrastructure that will see them thrive, both socially and economically.

It is vital that further funding is delivered to enhance the digital infrastructure in Argyll and Bute to not only help the economic recovery after COVID-19 but to secure long-term prosperity for the area.”

The council has been working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in Westminster, towards funding to extend full fibre into some of the most rural and unconnected communities.

In addition, Argyll and Bute is submitting, as part of a bigger Local Authority consortia, a funding bid to the DCMS 5G Create. Up to £30 million of government funding will be available, aiming to explore and develop new use-cases and 5G technical capabilities.

The Scottish Government has committed to providing everyone in Scotland Superfast Broadband. If this is not available just yet, the Universal Service Obligation (USO) gives everyone the right to request a usable broadband currently set at 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. More information can be found at https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8146/

While the council does not have responsibility for delivering the digital infrastructure in Argyll and Bute, the committee was informed that it continues to actively engage with the external stakeholders who are responsible for Next Generation Access such as Superfast Broadband or mobile communications.

Householders are reminded that they should check with their Internet Service Provider – such as BT, Sky, Plusnet – to find out if they are capable of accessing Super-Fast Broadband, or alternatively check the Digital Scotland website and input their phone number or postcode - see https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/.

The Business Continuity Committee papers can be found on the council website

ENDS//

Notes

Current position of broadband coverage across the Argyll and Bute:

  • 84% can access speeds >30Mbps*
  • 0.7% are between 24 and 30 Mbps
  • 2.7% are between 15 and 24 Mbps
  • 1.9% are between 10 and 15Mbps
  • 7.1% are between 2 and 10Mbps
  • 3.7% are below 2Mbps
  • Full Fibre availability is currently at 0.93%

* It should be noted that these speeds are subject to people paying for these services