Think-Tanks Stresses Importance of High Speed Internet
A new report entitled 'Digital Scotland', produced by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) urges Scottish Ministers to improve the country’s internet infrastructure.
Chaired by Professor Michael Fourman the report examines how technological change could be exploited for Scotland’s economic and social benefit.
If Scotland doesn’t pay attention to the need for a next generation network we will have a disproportionately large digital divide [among our population] because of geography and the way our population is distributed. In our report we have identified ways of addressing that, using devolved powers and without making calls on the public purse. But it requires determination from the Scottish Government to make things go in the right direction.
This final report was published on 26th October following an interim consultation document published by the RSE earlier this summer.
Professor Fourman rejects the argument put forward by the Scottish Government that telecommunications is a reserved issue and that improvements to internet provision should be led by the UK Government.
I actually think their view is mistaken. Although the regulation is clearly reserved, many of the actions that we need can be taken at local level and are clearly devolved issues. We will detail those in our report but, for example, there are issues of planning regulation to promote the network which are completely devolved.
The RSE are also supportive of Reform Scotland’s request for a dedicated broadband minister
The final report can be downloaded from the RSE website, as can the interim report and the consultation responses received.