Banker appointed to help rural communities get better connected

One of Scotland’s leading bankers has been appointed to head the Scottish Government’s national programme to help the hardest to reach communities get better connected.

Mark Tate, formerly HSBC’s Head of Commercial and Business Banking in Scotland, has this week taken up the post of Development Director for Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).

Having led strategic projects for HSBC in Scotland, the UK and Kazakhstan, Mark is relishing the challenge of leading the national project which will make a key contribution to the Scottish Government’s vision of Scotland as a world class digital nation by 2020.

CBS is a partnership which brings together Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise, COSLA, the Carnegie UK Trust and our National Parks.

Over £410m of public and private sector funding is being invested through the Scottish Government’s Step Change programme, which will deliver Next Generation Broadband access to 95% of premises in Scotland by 2017.

CBS’s aim is to provide support, expertise and funding to communities in the most challenging locations to help them deliver their own broadband solutions.

Mark commented: “Digital connectivity is increasingly an essential part of our everyday lives. Being part of CBS provides me with an opportunity to work with some great people focused on finding ways to close the digital divide between the hardest to reach communities and the rest of Scotland.

“Working with our key partners to find innovative and pioneering ways to get those communities connected will make a huge difference to how our rural communities live and work.

“Providing world class connectivity is one of the Scottish Government’s key priorities and I am really excited to be helping to drive the delivery of this ambitious agenda in our hardest to reach areas.”

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are delighted to welcome Mark, who has global credentials in commercial project management, on board to lead Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).

“The Scottish Government is committed to helping our most remote communities find solutions to the very challenging technological broadband challenges they face. CBS has been set up to provide community groups with the advice and information they need to help this to happen.”

CBS is managed across Scotland by HIE. Chief Executive Alex Paterson, commented: “HIE has a long history in working within Scotland’s most remote areas to help create improved social and economic conditions. We understand the benefits of faster more reliable broadband to rural communities.

“As fibre rolls out across Scotland Mark and the CBS team will be doing all they can to help communities explore the growing technological solutions which will allow them to benefit.”