Scottish Highlands and Islands 'need access to better broadband' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The Scottish government needs to make improving broadband access to those living and working in the Highlands and Islands a priority, according to a member of the country's parliament.

Rhoda Grant, a Labour MP for the Highlands and Islands constituency in Scotland, said that there is additional funding available, but the government hasn't yet made a decision as to where the money will be spent.

The long-term campaigner for better broadband for rural areas in the country said she has received countless letters from residents complaining about the issue. While she recognises that some effort is being made to improve the situation, much remains to be done to increase levels of delivery.

She said: "The Highlands and Islands started out from a lower base level of coverage and I have asked the Cabinet Secretary to ensure a level playing field across the country by bringing the Highlands and Islands up to the same standard as is deemed acceptable in urban Scotland.”

Although work is still ongoing, she explained that geographical challenges mean that some people living in the country's remotest communities will still miss out on the rollout of super-fast broadband.

According to the MP, the Scottish Labour party has led the way in bringing about desperately-needed improvement and this has led to the introduction of better connectivity in some parts of the Highlands and Islands.

“The Highlands and Islands is where the campaign to improve broadband services began back in 2005 and I want to see the area benefit from the same standards as urban Scotland receives,” Ms Grant added.

There have been reports of poor connectivity across the Highlands, with residents from rural communities in Ardnamurchan complaining to newspaper the Press and Journal that the local economy is being impacted[,] as businesses won't move into the area due to the available broadband.

For those that are not included in the rollout of super-fast broadband or can't wait until the end of 2016 for a fast and reliable service, satellite broadband is a viable alternative.