Audit report calls for more customer information on ‘Superfast’ quality

The Moray public should be given more information on coverage and the range of speeds they can expect from Superfast broadband.

That was the view being expressed by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, who was commenting on an Audit Scotland report that not enough information is being provided over the quality of the new superfast products being rolled out in the Highlands and Moray.

Many customers upgrading to the new service are finding that the speeds they can actually receive are not significantly higher than standard broadband services – and yet they are still having to pay the same for the service as those receiving download speeds at almost twice the rate.

The Labour MSP said: “This is the biggest fibre cable laying project undertaken in the UK in recent years and the progress made on this is certainly to be welcomed.

“My Labour colleagues in the Highlands and Islands and myself pushed for this project for years and are delighted to see the progress emerging.

“I am pleased to see that coverage figures of the project appear to be on track to have 85% of premises with access to superfast broadband by 2016. However, the Highlands and Islands and Moray started off with a lower base level of coverage.

“As Audit Scotland have stated, the investment of public funds in this project is intended to mainly benefit rural areas where commercial operations are not viable for private industry.

“Access to broadband services is patchy in many of our areas throughout the Highlands and Islands, and low or non-existent in others.

“People have been waiting, very patiently, for months to hear what benefits this project will bring to their area – they need to be told what coverage and speeds they might expect and when.”

A Moray BT Broadband customer told insideMoray: “The standard broadband service I had from prior to the rollout arriving in our area was around 14mb so knowing that many people were able to upgrade to speeds of around 30mb I was willing to pay the extra for that level of service.

“However, when it was fitted I find that the ‘guaranteed’ speed is just 18mb – and yet the charges made for that are exactly the same as for those who receive the faster service.”

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