SNP broadband rollout is proceeding at dial-up speeds

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie has today said that the SNP’s broadband rollout is proceeding at dial-up speeds after a parliamentary question revealed that the government’s Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme has helped just 2.7% of properties in eligible hard-to-reach areas to get connected. 

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Rennie, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes revealed that just 2,268 installations had been completed out of the 83,855 homes and businesses which are eligible for support, with a further 966 vouchers issued but not yet completed. That means just 1,338 installations have been completed since Mr Rennie last asked in April. If this rate of progress continues it will take 15 years to connect all of the eligible homes and businesses. 

Ms Forbes also confirmed that the only direct communication with eligible homes and businesses was a single mailshot in May 2021, targeted at just 30,000 of those who are eligible. 

The vouchers of up to £5,000 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 SNP’s broadband rollout is proceeding at dial-up speeds. At this rate it will be another decade and a half before some households and businesses get a decent connection. 

“The homes and businesses excluded from the Government’s R100 programme are now missing out on even the DIY scheme. 

“A reliable internet connection is essential for starting businesses, securing a good education and even attending medical appointments in remote and rural communities. 

“Sending out a single mailshot to a fraction of eligible households suggests that the Scottish Government misjudged what was required.  

“The Scottish Government need a fresh push to sign up all those who are eligible and ensure that communities do not miss out on the broadband connections they have been promised for so many years.”  

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