?200m digital network upgrade call – The Herald


The cost of creating a ‘fit for purpose’ digital network could be about 200 million pounds, according to a report

The cost of creating a “fit for purpose” digital network could be about £200 million, according to a report by a leading think-tank.

But keeping up with rapid advances in this technology must be at the heart of Scotland’s “economic and cultural” future, according to Reform Scotland.

It is calling on the Scottish Government to appoint a minister tasked with ensuring that Scotland is a leader in the digital revolution.

A report entitled Digital Power says Scotland needs a strategy that caters for the whole of the country and not just the major cities.

“Digital connectivity is to the present day what railways and canals were to the first industrial revolution,” the report says.

“But it is important that those in poorer or remote areas, who may already suffer from social exclusion, do not become further isolated.”

The report’s authors, including former head of telecoms and media at HBOS Stuart Gibson, believe the cost of upgrading Scotland’s digital network to the level required would not be as expensive as might be imagined.

“Taking into account available data and research as well as discussion with operators, consultants and academics, we believe a good deal could be achieved within a budget of around £200 million,” the report adds.

It calls on the Scottish Government to commission a detailed analysis of possible funding options, including private and European Union investment.

“In the context of Scotland’s physical geography, situated on the edge of Europe, we consider that the investment in establishing Scotland as a competitive force in an increasingly global electronic economy represents a compelling case for prioritisation,” the report says.