Concern as Western Isles “Miles Behind” Superfast Broadband Target

A recent survey has suggested that the Western Isles is miles behind achieving the 2021 target of every home and business having access to superfast broadband.

The survey, carried out by the consumer magazine Which? measured the broadband speeds of all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities in the year to September 2018, carrying out 277,575 speed tests.

It found that the average broadband speed in the Western Isles was a mere 11.5Mbps, which was considerably behind most mainland authorities.

The SNP Government defines superfast broadband as having “speeds greater than 30 Mbps”, and have made a commitment on several occasions to ensure that “every home and business in Scotland [has] access to superfast broadband by 2021”.

Although broadband and wider telecommunications policy is set by the UK Government, the SNP Government are responsible for the rollout of broadband through its ‘Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband’ programme.

Last year, the former Digital Minister Matt Hancock announced that due to the poor performance of the SNP Government in delivering superfast rollout, the delivery of the next phase of “full-fibre” rollout would be carried out between the UK Government and Scotland’s local authorities.

Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said:

“Ensuring that communities have fast and reliable broadband is an absolute necessity, and I firmly believe that in this day and age it is a service which people expect to have just like any other utility.

It is appalling that the Western Isles is miles behind achieving superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps and it is very concerning that other local authorities in the Highlands and Islands are nowhere near achieving the 2021 target.

While the SNP engage in their own internal civil war, many people across the islands are being left behind, and it is high time Nicola Sturgeon got her priorities sorted.”

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