Scotland still woefully lags behind the rest of the UK on fibre broadband and superfast speed coverage.
Large areas in rural Scotland still experience extremely slow broadband with the digital gap widening between urban and rural Scotland. The SNP Government were given funding in 2014 by the UK Government for Phase 2 of rollout but are only now using it for procurement.
It is clear that the UK Government has delivered, while the SNP continue to dither on broadband. It is past time that the SNP got on with the job of ensuring access for our rural communities, instead of offering excuses.
Scotland lags behind England and Wales on provision of superfast speeds above 24 Mbps. 93.7 per cent of premises in Scotland had access to speeds of over 24 Mbps compared to 95.7 per cent in England and 94.6 per cent in Wales.
6 out of the 10 worst constituencies for download speeds are in Scotland. Orkney & Shetland, Ross, Skye & Lochaber, Banff & Buchan, Caithness, Skye & Easter Ross, West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine and Argyll & Bute
Scotland has already benefited nearly 2.5 times more funding per head for superfast than England. The Culture Secretary announced a further £190 million for full fibre networks, due to a lack of progress from the SNP Government.
The SNP Government has taken three years to start procurement for R100 after being allocated funding from the UK Government. A further £21 million DCMS funding was allocated to Scotland in 2014 for a Phase 2 project, alongside allocations to the rest of the UK. The Programme for Government promised R100 would be completed by 2012, however Fergus Ewing announced in REC Committee it wouldn’t be until the end of 2021.
A quality internet service is an essential part of living in the modern world not a needless luxury.
Cllr Alastair Redman