Broadband speed “below par” in Galloway

Labour MSP Colin Smyth
Labour MSP Colin Smyth

The news that Dumfries and Galloway is performing “below par” when it comes to broadband speeds has been described as “unsurprising” by an MSP.

Labour MSP Colin Smyth has called on Openreach and the UK and Scottish Government’s to “up their game” when it comes to the roll-out of superfast broadband or risk the local economy falling further behind.

A report published by consumer group Which? shows that Dumfries and Galloway finished as the 36th worst place in the UK for broadband speed, and the 9th worst in Scotland.

Mr Smyth said:“While progress has been made in recent years, the news that Dumfries and Galloway is performing below par when it comes to broadband speeds is unsurprising. It is an issue that I am inundated with complaints about and no wonder. It’s alright for the UK and Scottish Government and Openreach to say that more and more people in the region can access so-called superfast broadband, but frankly for many people it’s far from superfast compared to other parts of the country.

It is clear that the speeds that can be achieved in our region are inferior to many other parts of the country and many areas in the region still don’t have any access to superfast broadband. It’s not just some of our remote rural villages but large parts of our main towns don’t have access due to utter failure of Openreach and that is just not good enough. Unless Openreach, the Scottish and UK Government’s up their game the digital divide between our region and many other parts of Scotland and the UK will get wider. That will make it harder for Dumfries and Galloway to compete and risks our local economy falling further behind.”

An Openreach spokeswoman said: “Like Which?, we’d encourage people to check whether faster broadband services are available in their area, because around 90% of Scotland can order superfast speeds today at 24Mbps+ and over 94% can access a service faster than 10Mbps*. Openreach has invested billions of pounds to improve UK broadband speeds in recent years and we’re continuing to extend our fibre network, which means faster services are increasingly available in some of the country’s most remote and hard-to-serve areas.”