Purpose of this Consultation
This public consultation seeks to define the proposed intervention locations in the first phase of this programme. To enable this, a series of initial locations have been identified (building upon information currently available to the Scottish Government and SFT). The Scottish Government and SFT wish to test these proposed locations and their applicability for the programme.
Delivering mobile services in non-commercial areas brings significant technical and commercial challenges. This phase of the programme aims to test the market's appetite to deliver 4G mobile infrastructure and services in non-commercial areas of Scotland through Government provision of capital subsidy. It is the first stage of a more comprehensive programme covering Scotland more widely, which will be developed by the Scottish Government and SFT - with the input of industry - over the next 18 months. One of the main reasons preventing the procurement such a more comprehensive programme from the outset is the uncertainty of the extent of commercial 4G rollout. However, this will become clearer as commercial rollouts start to complete towards the end of 2017. As part of the overall programme, the Scottish Government and SFT will continue to work with industry and the regulator to identify and verify 4G mobile "not spots" and consider how these could potentially be addressed through this or future phases of activity.
An additional purpose of this consultation is to meet the requirements of the European Commission's Broadband Guidelines. These are EU Guidelines  as to how governments should apply the European Commission's State Aid rules in relation to the deployment of broadband networks. For these purposes, 4G LTE is classified as an next generation access ( NGA) broadband service. The objective of this intervention is to provide access to mobile NGA infrastructure which is capable of delivering 4G LTE services.
European Union State Aid rules are designed to ensure that any use of public funding ('State Aid') is targeted at areas of market failure and produces positive market outcomes while minimising any distortion to competition. The State Aid rules require public interventions to be targeted so as to limit the risk of crowding-out or disincentivising existing and/or concrete planned private sector investments that would otherwise meet the desired policy objectives. In the context of broadband, the General Block Exemption Regulations permits the use of public funding only to extend broadband coverage in geographic areas where there is no provision of basic broadband or NGA broadband service or network and it is unlikely to be developed in the near future (within the next three years).
In accordance with this requirement, the Scottish Government is holding a public consultation through publication of this consultation document on the Scottish Government's website.