Saturday, 10 August 2013

Connecting the Hebrides

On the 24th July at the council, Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital at HIE gave a presentation on the Next Generation Broadband project for the Highlands and Islands.

As technology is advancing at breakneck speed, Internet connectivity has become a lifeline for rural communities. It is a must for competitive business and thus, economic development of the islands relies on fast broadband. The Internet has made it possible for people living on the periphery to connect for social, educational, business reasons.

For the Outer Hebrides,next generation broadband connection will go some way to making our islands more competitive. Without it, we will fall further behind and our hopes of building our communities and attracting families and businesses to the islands will become more and more challenging.

So, when the Scottish Government announced, earlier this year, the massive broadband investment of £146 million to deliver fibre broadband to 84% of the Highlands and Islands by 2020, the significance of the large investment was apparent that the government saw the need for connectivity to help grow fragile economies such as the Outer Hebrides.

In terms of the Outer Hebrides, the Scottish Government expect to spend more per head of population in the Western Isles than anywhere else in the Highlands and Islands.

The SNP group welcome this investment by the Scottish Government which will improve e-commerce, cloud computing, video conferencing, remote access, marketing and networking, homeworking opportunities, better access to services and helps the Outer Hebrides keep pace with the fast moving advancing world of technology.