Monday, October 8, 2012

Scot. Gov - Progress report of digital agenda repeats aspiration to be world class, but provides little funding

The Scottish Government has published its progress report on digital Scotland.

Its press release stressed the creation of jobs:

Scotland is set to benefit from nearly 15,000 new jobs thanks to investment in broadband infrastructure, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.

Echoing the success of Team GB in the London Olympics, the Deputy First Minister states:

I am also clear that whilst the Scottish Government must continue to provide strong leadership for our digital strategy, we will only deliver the benefits that the Scottish people and Scottish businesses expect, if our vision, and the actions to deliver that vision, are shared and owned by all sections of our economy and society.
The report goes on to assert:
Whilst nobody can predict the future of digital technologies with absolute certainty, this strategy will ensure that, by 2020, Scotland will have a world-class, future-proofed digital infrastructure that enables everyone, regardless of where they live, to get online and connect with people; access a wide range of essential public services; grow their business; and enjoy a wide range of on-demand entertainment options. Our people will feel confident in their ability to use digital technology to improve their personal and working lives.
It is claimed that it:
Lobbied the UK Government and Ofcom successfully on 4G Spectrum to improve the levels of 4G coverage in Scotland that will be delivered following the forthcoming spectrum auction.
This is disingenuous, since it asked for and did not get 98 per cent coverage in every local authority area.

The very broad, rather generic claim is made that:

Participation rates in Scotland now equal Wales and Northern Ireland.
If that means use of broadband, it fails to note that Scotland lags England, dragged down by urban Glasgow and Dundee.

Echoing the FCC broadband plan for the USA:

Scotland wants to be recognised as a country that welcomes and encourages the introduction of new mobile and wireless technologies as a potential stimulus to economic growth.

It is extraordinarily difficult to work out how much of its own money the Scottish Government has put into broadband. Prima facie, it seems to be mostly EU and HM Treasury that is paying.

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