Published: 22nd Jun 2016
Local politicians are concerned a lack of demand may hold back the rollout of super-fast fibre optic broadband in Dumfries and Galloway.
Speaking to the Galloway Gazette, Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown claimed the number of people who have registered an interest in the service is "worryingly low" and said the rate currently stands at 0.38 per cent in Stranraer and is only 0.1 per cent higher in Dumfries.
"Across the region, barely any of our towns' or villages' registration rates are in double figures.
"This is a real concern, especially in rural areas where broadband is already difficult to get," Mr Brown stated.
He said the situation in Galloway and Dumfries is in stark contrast to the Scottish Borders, where some towns and villages have a registration rate of more than 50 per cent.
The Labour MP claimed the lack of interest is due to the project not being promoted well enough and called on the Scottish government and BT to do more to make people aware of the scheme.
If registration rates in the Galloway and Dumfries region do not improve the area may miss out on fibre optic broadband as the low level of demand would mean rolling out the technology is not considered commercially viable.
However, waiting for this service is not the only option available to local residents. Satellite broadband can provide high download speeds and the connection supplied by this technology is not shared with other households, meaning public demand is not an issue.
Furthermore, this service is available immediately through Avonline, while it may take several years for fibre optic broadband to be introduced to Galloway and Dumfries if at all.
The benefits faster broadband could bring to the region were highlighted by Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray.
She told the Galloway Gazette it would be advantageous for both local businesses and communities and help the area get through the current tough economic climate.
Posted by Mark Wynn
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