Shetland’s MSP and MP, Tavish Scott and Alistair Carmichael have reacted to a Which? report showing that Shetland has the second slowest broadband speeds of any area in Scotland by repeating calls for the UK and Scottish Governments to prioritise future investment in the islands.
“Which?” found the areas suffering from the slowest internet speeds in the UK were Orkney (3Mbps), Shetland (6.7Mbps), Argyll and Bute (7Mbps) and Moray (7.1Mbps).
Tavish and Alistair have long campaigned for urgent improvement of local broadband services. The Scottish Government has committed to delivering high speed broadband to 100% of premises across Scotland by 2021. This R100 programme, however, remains in the procurement phase.
Reacting to the figures, Tavish said:
“These figures are yet another reminder of the poor broadband speeds islanders are having to contend with, if they can get broadband at all.
“The Scottish Government will not meet its commitment to 100% high speed broadband coverage by 2021 without prioritising sufficient resources to our rural communities. There are serious concerns whether the timetable is possible but islanders must not be left behind.”
Mr Carmichael added:
“These figures will make difficult reading for both of Scotland’s Governments as they show the digital divide between the Northern Isles and the Central belt is getting wider, not narrower.
"The Scottish Government are about to launch their procurement for the next phase of broadband roll-out, and anything other than a focus on Scotland’s rural and islands communities would be a betrayal of their commitments to deliver reliable superfast broadband across the country.”