Dismay as Scottish Government push back their Superfast timetable

Superfast highway is not passing through rural communities any time soon.
Superfast highway is not passing through rural communities any time soon.

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT are being accused of failing to deliver on their superfast broadband plans for the Highlands and Moray.

Scottish Labour’s Connectivity Spokesperson, Rhoda Grant MSP, has said she is extremely disappointed, but not surprised, that the SNP 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 a year to 2021 – at a time when many in Moray have been questioning the accuracy of data that suggests a much higher success rate that is being experienced on the ground.

Mrs Grant, who represents the Highlands and Moray at the Holyrood Parliament, said: “The Audit Scotland report into the broadband rollout which was published a few weeks ago highlighted that much remained to be done.”

The MSP pointed to remote and rural areas being put to the back of the queue in the rollout – with more than half of those homes in some parts of the country still struggling with low internet speeds.

Mrs Grant 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.

“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.”

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