Following reports that almost none of the UK Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit fund has been spent since it was announced by Boris Johnson over a year ago, Jamie Stone MP has urged the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) to get a move on.
The Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has written to the Secretary of State for DCMS, Nadine Dorries, to ask her to cut the red tape and push the project forward at a faster pace.
He also highlighted the need for better cooperation between the UK and Scottish Governments to allow better broadband to be delivered to Highland communities.
The multi-billion-pound Project Gigabit was announced by the Prime Minister in March 2021, promising to provide ‘lightning-fast broadband to all parts of the country,’ but reports suggest that only very small areas of the country have since been earmarked for connectivity.
Last month, Scottish Liberal Democrats also uncovered that just 1% of properties eligible for the SNP/Green Government’s broadband voucher scheme for hard-to-reach areas have been connected.
Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said:
“Across Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, the chronically poor broadband service is one of the biggest complaints I receive from local people. It is holding our region back.
“The UK and Scottish Governments really need to be working together to prioritise the North of Scotland, where speeds are lagging far behind those in the Central Belt.
“People in remote and rural areas cannot afford any further broadband bureaucracy. That’s why Liberal Democrats will continue to push for a programme of broadband ‘catchup zones’ to urgently narrow the gap between the fastest and the slowest speeds.”