In response to a parliamentary question lodged by Scottish Liberal Democrat connectivity spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP, the minister responsible for delivering Scottish Government’s R100 programme has today rolled back on the 2021 target for the project, admitting that it would be ‘challenging’ to meet the government’s previous commitment and incorrectly claiming that the timetable always had a ‘degree of flexibility’.
As far back as 2011 the SNP have been promising superfast broadband for rural homes in Scotland and their election promise in 2016 clearly stated “Our manifesto pledged to deliver superfast broadband to 100% of premises in Scotland by 2021.”
Despite virtually none of the £600m promised for the programme having been spent on delivering 30Mbps to homes in Scotland, the target date had already been moved back to the end of 2021 and is now being pushed further into the next Parliament.
Mr Rumbles said:
“The minister’s response is pretty unequivocal. This SNP Government has failed to deliver the promise it made to thousands of rural households in the 2016 election.
“The target of 2021 has already slipped back once and with only 2 years left to deliver the programme the contractors are not even in place to start the work. Meanwhile dozens of rural and remote communities are being left behind in the race to improve access to online services and technology, with some households barely able to get internet speeds of 1 megabit-per-second.
“The minister claims he wants to be clear about the new timetable for the project but his response to me is anything but. This government has failed and it will be up to the next Scottish Government to pick up the bill. I hope that the SNP will be clear about that when they set out their next set of election promises.”