The Scottish Government has, today, backed down from its 2016 election promise to deliver superfast broadband to every home in Scotland by 2021, admitting that the commitment will not be delivered until well into the next Parliament.
The Scottish Government’s connectivity minister told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament today that the Scottish Government’s R100 programme will now not be completed until 2023 at the earliest. This marks the third delay to the project announced since 2016.
The Minister also claimed that the Scottish Government had been a significant contributor to the work that has already been carried out through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, however Scottish Government spending only racked up 16% of the total £412 million invested by the UK Government, Local Authorities and Highland’s & Islands Enterprise.
Scottish Liberal Democrat connectivity spokesperson, Mike Rumbles MSP said:
“The minister is delusional if he thinks people will buy his statement today. This is the third time Ministers have announced a delay to the project and it is still the case that not a single penny of R100 funding has been spent delivering superfast broadband to homes in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government’s progress to deliver this 2016 election promise has been nothing but glacial and it is now clear that they had no intention of trying to deliver the programme on time. This commitment is now being replaced with a ‘voucher’ scheme. So instead of getting the service by the end of 2021 they will receive a piece of paper instead. What people want to know is when they will be connected not when they will receive a voucher!
“Ministers have utterly failed to do what they said they would do and thousands of homes in rural and remote communities have been let down by this Scottish Government.”