PROMISES OF SUPERFAST broadband connection speeds from the £148million joint BT and Scottish Government programme are falling “far short of expectations”.
That is a view shared by Labour MSP Rhoda Grant – who last night said that she wished there was an election every week, as it appeared to her to have made Deputy First Minister John Swinney finally sit up and take notice of the issue.
Mrs Grant was commenting on reports from the Convention of the Highlands and Islands, held in Stornoway earlier this week. At that, leaders of public agencies were joined by the Deputy First Minister and agreed to issue a joint letter to BT that expressed their “concern and frustration” over the progress of the superfast broadband programme.
Over the last year insideMoray has reported many failings by BT to address rollout issues in Moray, as exchanges are upgraded in a fanfare of publicity that are all too often following by disappointment where superfast packages are sold but does not meet the promises being made.
These, along with frustratingly poor service experienced by customers when trying to have BT address their issues, has led to heavy criticism over the effectiveness of the rollout.
Rhoda Grant said: “At long last this SNP government is waking up to what I have been telling them for years – that the project is not delivering in terms of timescale, in terms of connection levels or in terms of connection speeds.
“John Swinney has repeatedly told me everything is wonderful with the project – I have repeatedly told him it’s definitely not.
“I have appealed to both HIE and to BT to come forward with details of what they are doing and who is supposed to benefit in this current phase – this has not been forthcoming. However, if John Swinney has finally woken up to the fact that it’s not working this is good, because it is his responsibility to make it work.
“I am inundated with complaints from constituents the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands who are totally frustrated by the lack of progress in getting superfast services to them. A range of technology options need to be utilised to get our communities connected.”