Rumbles demands plan to tackle “digital desert”

Scottish Liberal Democrat connectivity spokesperson Mike Rumbles has today used a parliamentary debate on broadband provision to demand that the Scottish Government publish plans telling households that have been left behind, when they can expect superfast broadband to be delivered to their homes and businesses.

Despite a decade of promises from the Scottish Government, progress for rural remote and islands communities has been glacial. High speed internet access is estimated to be 91% in Scotland. The equivalent figure in England is 95%. Despite this, £121 million allocated in 2014 for local fibre rollout in Scotland is still sitting in government coffers.  

Mr Rumbles said:

“The most common connectivity complaint is that the Scottish Government promise better broadband but then won’t say when and where it is going to be delivered. Despite new technologies being developed and speeds for some getting faster and faster, other businesses and residents outside of Scotland’s cities have too often been left out.

“Unfortunately, without a detailed rollout programme where consumers can check when they are going to get connected over the next three and a half years, many people will continue to be left in a digital desert.

“The SNP must start to show real progress for those in rural areas to ensure that those communities are not left behind.”


Notes to editors

Mr Rumbles’ amendment can be found here:

S5M-12010.1 Mike Rumbles - As an amendment to motion S5M-12010 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Scotland's Digital Connectivity), after "island communities" insert "; calls on the Scottish Government to publish a full and clear regional timetable for the roll-out of superfast broadband; further calls for R100 to prioritise the remote, rural and island communities that currently endure unreliable, intermittent or no broadband connections; recognises that the Scottish Government's participation in delivering improved broadband, thus far, has been slow, particularly for those areas with the worst performing services, and that the cost of delivering the R100 programme may be significantly more than it has publicised".

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