Broadband investment 'to provide 15,000 new jobs'

Around 15,000 new jobs are to be created thanks to a boost in broadband infrastructure in Scotland, the country's politicians say.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said engineering, e-commerce, social media, laser technologies, tourism, research and development, and cyber security jobs will be created right across the economy thanks to the investment.

Older people and those with disabilities are being sought for employment, as well as jobseekers.

The jobs will appear over the next 15 years as part of an investment by the Scottish Government in quicker, next-generation broadband for both business and home use.

The jobs projection was set out by Scotland's Digital Future, the Scottish Government's digital strategy team, in its first yearly report.

Almost 250 million is being pumped into the scheme in order to deliver improved broadband access for people across Scotland.

Rural areas will benefit from a 5 million injection towards better connections, with 120 million targeted towards the Highlands and islands alone.

Ms Sturgeon, who is also the cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, said Scotland has "huge strengths" in life sciences and renewable energy, but she hopes that the digital industry could provide a fresh shot in the arm for the Scottish economy.

She added that the potential for "massive opportunities" is clear. As well as 800 jobs being created in building the infrastructure in the next five years, it is estimated that 14,000 jobs could be generated in the wider Scottish economy in the next 15 years thanks to increased digital connectivity.

The Deputy First Minister added that the investment means e-commerce and engineering for digital services could be among the cutting-edge sectors to benefit.

She noted that the commitment will not only "boost jobs, it will transform our business".

She pointed towards raised productivity and the opening up of new markets to help attract investments into Scotland.

The politician concluded by saying that the move could also provide fundamental changes in the way people live, from accessing healthcare to booking holidays. She said that she hopes Scotland will "reap the social and cultural benefits" of better broadband services.

Copyright Press Association 2012