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Failed promises on rural broadband are a betrayal of rural Scotland, says MSP

The SNP's Fergus Ewing

SNP Broadband Minister Paul Wheelhouse has again been asked to provide a firm date of when detailed house by house roll-out plans with be published for the South of Scotland. In questions to the minister in January a commitment was made to make the plan public by summer 2021. Scottish Conservative MSP Finlay Carson says the SNP must 'get a grip' on their flagship broadband scheme. Mr Carson was reacting after fears were raised that a legal challenge won't be completed by the end of the year, meaning the R100 project will lose out on vital funding for some rural parts of Scotland. The North Lot is currently involved in a legal dispute and future broadband delivery remains uncertain for those in the Highlands, Aberdeen, Dundee and Angus. SNP Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP famously said he would resign if the project wasn't delivered by 2021, which it won't be. Now Mr Carson says that the SNP need ensure there are no further issues with delivering superfast broadband, with digital connectivity going to be vital in restarting the post Covid-19 economy. Businesses must have certainty over when to expect Superfast services to be installed in their premise. Mr Carson says "The SNP's flagship broadband scheme continues to be beset by delays, errors and disputes. With the economy needing a much needed boost it is even more critical that we see stable reliable and fast broadband right across out region. He has requested an update on the publication of the detailed roll-out plan for Galloway and West Dumfries. "It is another policy where the SNP have talked the talk but completely failed to deliver the infrastructure on the ground. "That is letting down our rural economy which is crying out for broadband upgrades. "Digital connectivity is going to be absolutely vital in boosting our economy after Covid-19 and we can't let our rural communities in particular be left behind. "The SNP need to get a grip of this but they will already be failing to deliver this when they said they would. "Perhaps Fergus Ewing can explain why he hasn't resigned as he said he would to those rural constituents and businesses who continue to be failed by the SNP's lack of progress on broadband."

<< back Published: 01 Jul 2020, 10:51

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