Scotland is set to benefit from nearly 15,000 new jobs thanks to investment in broadband infrastructure, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.
The jobs will be created across the economy in areas such as e-commerce, engineering, social media, tourism, laser technologies, cyber security and research and development. The investment will also help job seekers, older people and those with disabilities gain access to employment.
The employment opportunities are forecast to emerge over the next 15 years as the Scottish Government invests in providing faster, next generation broadband access for businesses and communities.
The job figures were published today in the first annual progress report of the Scottish Government’s digital strategy – Scotland’s Digital Future.
The Scottish Government is investing nearly a quarter of a billion pounds to deliver improved broadband access for people across Scotland.
This includes a £120 million broadband boost specifically for the Highlands and Islands and £5 million to assist community groups in rural areas gain access to broadband networks.
In Glasgow, after visiting Stream Communications, a European leader in the design and provision of highly specialised mobile network services, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Scotland has huge strengths in areas like renewables and life sciences. I want our digital industry to be a similar driving force for our economy.
“The huge potential and massive opportunities are clear. In addition to creating around 800 jobs building the infrastructure over the next five years the investment in improving Scotland’s digital connectivity is forecast to support around 14,000 jobs in the wider Scottish economy over the next 15 years.
“Our commitment will mean new, high quality jobs in cutting edge areas like e-commerce and digital engineering.
“But investment in our digital economy will not only boost jobs, it will transform our businesses, raising productivity and opening up new markets to attract inward investment.
“It will also change the way that we live – from the way we book holidays to the way we access health care. We are committed to ensuring that all of Scotland is able to reap the social and cultural benefits of the internet.
“Broadband, just like roads and railways, is a vital part of Scotland’s infrastructure, and that is why we are committed to delivering a world class digital infrastructure to the people of Scotland by 2020.”
Nigel Chadwick, Director of Stream Communications said:
“Our new lab, the first of its kind in Europe, is at the forefront of technical innovation in the design and provision of specialist mobile network services.
“As a Scottish company, we are delighted to have secured high profile contacts such as providing SIM cards and network services for CCTV cameras at Glastonbury, and the outside broadcast cameras covering the Olympic flame journey through the UK.
“We believe that by helping the businesses of our customers grow, we are supporting economic and jobs growth across the entire mobile infrastructure system.”
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said, “This investment in Scotland’s digital infrastructure is key to maintaining our companies’ global competitiveness. It also allows us to build on our existing world-class reputation for creating innovative businesses and offers an additional compelling incentive for inward investors.
“We’ve worked alongside Stream Communications to help it achieve its international growth ambitions, providing support to the management team with their business strategy, product innovation and specialist ICT assistance, through our account management approach. Our support has resulted in Stream’s unique, ground-breaking network infrastructure that will accelerate the company’s growth.”
Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of Dundee-based online publishing company Brightsolid, said:
“A digital Scotland to me is a concept that has to be central to our future. As a small country with huge intellectual capacity, digital media and digital technology have to be right at the core of everything we do going forward.”