Figures provided through the Scottish Parliament's own independent research library (SPICe) has confirmed that the Scottish Government will fail to deliver its own target of 95% coverage of access to superfast broadband, by 31st December 2017, despite what the Cabinet Secretary told Parliament earlier this week.
On Tuesday 19th December, in the Scottish Parliament, Fergus Ewing said: “Our definition of the speed of superfast broadband is the conventionally accepted one of 30mbps”. Ofcom and the EU also define superfast broadband as download speeds of at least 30 Megabits per second.
However, ThinkBroadband figures provided to the Scottish Liberal Democrats by SPICe show as of today that only 92.5% of homes in Scotland can access speeds of 30mbps, while in England the figure is 94.8%. In some rural areas of Scotland ThinkBroadband figures show that this level of provision falls to as low as 68% in Orkney and Shetland.
Scottish Liberal Democrat connectivity spokesperson, Mike Rumbles MSP said:
“It is now clear that the Cabinet Secretary was incorrect to say that the Scottish Government’s target of 95% access to superfast broadband will be delivered in 11 days’ time.
“The Scottish Government are trying to muddy the water and claim they have delivered on a promise that they have not. Ofcom and even the Parliament’s own independent library have now provided figures to the contrary.
“This does not bode well for the next phase of the project. If the Scottish Government continue to try and fudge the figures, it could mean that many communities in rural areas across Scotland will not get what they have been promised and could miss out on superfast broadband altogether.”
Notes for editors:
- On Tuesday 19th December, in the Scottish Parliament, Fergus Ewing said:“Our definition of the speed of superfast broadband is the conventionally accepted one of 30mbps”. Ofcom and the EU also define superfast broadband as download speeds of at least 30 Megabits per second.
- In the 2017 Digital Strategy for Scotland the Scottish Government said: "Ensure that every premise in Scotland is able to access broadband speeds of at least 30 Megabits per second by 2021".
- 30Mbps is also Ofcom’s definition of the download speed for Superfast Broadband.
- Information on access, by all UK local authority area or postcodes, can be found on the thinkbroadbank website: https://labs2.thinkbroadband.com/local/