8 September 2016
Scottish Labour’s Connectivity Spokesperson, Rhoda Grant, has said she is extremely disappointed but not surprised that the Scottish Government has pushed back its commitment to deliver superfast broadband to every home and business by 2020.
In the Programme for Government, published this week, the commitment has been pushed back to 2021.
Commenting, Rhoda said :
“The Audit Scotland report into the broadband rollout which was published a few weeks ago highlighted that much remained to be done.
“ It highlighted that our remote and rural areas including the Highlands, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles in my own constituency and Perth and Kinross are all at the back of the queue for connections and that more than half of homes in some parts of rural Scotland are still struggling with very slow internet speeds.
“Focus has been on the central belt and left our outlying areas behind.
Rhoda continued :
“It’s the rural areas that have most to gain from being able to access superfast broadband.
“These areas need it to complete in the global market place and to safeguard against population decline.
“Rural and island schools and colleges need it to deliver to remote students and our health boards need it to deliver telehealth services to remote patients.
“Nicola Sturgeon herself has said broadband coverage is ‘as fundamental to business success as electricity or running water’ and yet she has let this slip.”
Rhoda concluded :
“I am meeting with the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for connectivity, Fergus Ewing, next week to discuss the contents of the Audit Scotland report and discuss ways in which the Scottish Government must now focus to get our rural and island areas connected.”