Five telecoms firms sign charter to boost full fibre broadband in Scotland
Five more telecoms companies have pledged to help extend full fibre broadband access across Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s ‘full fibre charter’ has been signed by Borderlink, Cloudnet, Hyperoptic, Lothian Broadband Group and Virgin Media O2.
The agreement was launched in December 2020 to improve the government’s relationship with key commercial communications providers, and Axione, CityFibre and Openreach were founding signatories.
The commitment from the five new companies comes after an extension of 100 per cent non-domestic rates relief on newly laid fibre until March 2034 – surpassing a key goal set out in the charter.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “We want Scotland to become a truly digital nation, underpinned by high quality connectivity that supports people and businesses, innovation and growth. Our digital infrastructure is critical and central to our economic and social success.
“Supporting the ambitions set out in our recently published National Strategy for Economic Transformation, we have extended rates relief on newly ‘laid and lit’ fibre for a further five years. This is expected to unlock further commercial investment and help drive delivery of full fibre networks.
“Delivered through our Full Fibre Charter, we are able to encourage operators to back fair working practices to help boost skills and focus on opportunities for career progression.
“As well as ensuring more households and businesses access full fibre broadband, our investment in future-proofed, resilient connectivity can help deliver our ambitions as a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”
The first full fibre charter ministerial forum is expected to be hosted by Ms Forbes in the next few months.
The Scottish Government is building on the original 10 year non-domestic rates relief, a 2021-22 Programme for Government commitment.
It is hoped this will allow commercial planning for reinvestment into further fibre build and help to extend, build and enhance Scotland’s digital infrastructure.