A report showing that our rural region’s broadband speeds are almost just a third of those in urban areas has led to calls for urgent action to address the disbalance.
It comes from Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson who said the report in the respected consumer magazine Which? “has highlighted the huge disparity that still exists between rural and urban areas when it comes to average broadband speeds.”
The magazine found that in the Dumfries and Galloway region the average broadband speed is 11.8 megabits per second, whereas in urban West Dunbartonshire, the average speed is 29 mbps.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP has called on the SNP Government to “reverse their cuts to the digital connectivity budget, which totals less than £70m over the last two years. This comes at a time when the SNP Government’s ability to roll out 100% superfast broadband access for all by 2021 is being questioned.” He went on: “This report clearly highlights how rural communities like Dumfries and Galloway are still missing out when it comes to reliable broadband speeds.
“While those in urban areas are able to enjoy fast downloads, the story is far different for people and businesses living in rural areas. The onus is on the SNP Government here who continually talk about delivering 100% superfast broadband access for all by 2021, yet only two years away from that target, they are slashing the digital connectivity budget.”
However, the region’s SNP MSP Emma Harper retorted that it was the UK Conservative Government to blame for the situation.
She said: “In the Scottish Parliament last week, Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Connectivity, called on the UK government to deliver its fair share of UK broadband funding after he revealed that the Westminster Tories have contributed just 3% of the total funding for the ‘Reaching 100%’ project.
“Despite connectivity and broadband being a reserved matter, the Scottish Government has invested £600 million in the ‘R100’ programme.”