Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie has today criticised the SNP/Green Government after it emerged that just 1% of properties eligible for a broadband scheme for hard-to-reach areas have been connected.
In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Rennie, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes revealed that 83,855 homes and businesses are eligible for support, but just 930 vouchers have led to installations. Only 865 more vouchers have been issued.
- In Shetland and the Western Isles not a single home or business have benefited from the scheme despite almost 2,000 eligible properties apiece.
- In Glasgow just 9 properties have been connected, despite 11,317 being eligible.
- In Mr Rennie's own home council of Fife, there are 3,801 eligible properties but just 21 connections so far.
The vouchers of up to £5000 are available to homes and businesses with speeds less than 30Mbps that are set to be left out of the Scottish Government’s R100 superfast broadband-for-all and planned commercial investment.
Mr Rennie said:
“The Scottish Government’s broadband voucher scheme is a monumental failure. Only 2% of eligible properties have been able to secure a voucher, and only 1% have actually got the upgraded connection they need.
“The homes and businesses excluded from the Government’s R100 programme are now missing out on even the DIY scheme.
“It might as well be advertised at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.
“Good quality internet is essential for starting businesses, securing a good education and even attending medical appointments in every corner of Scotland but particularly in remote and rural communities.
“The Scottish Government need to get people hooked up to this scheme and ensure that communities do not miss out on the broadband connections they have been promised for so many years.”