MP hopes to address situation
Angus MP Kirstene Hair has met the UK Government’s Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock MP, to push the local case for improvements in broadband speeds.
Mr Hancock said the contracts to get broadband to Scotland were “signed more slowly than those for England and Wales”, and that was “because we devolved responsibility to the Scottish Government”.
Ms Hair said: “This is a very important issue for rural areas like Angus.
“We are so reliant on broadband connections nowadays – not just for household use, but for local businesses and pupils studying in our schools.
“Recent surveys have confirmed that the speeds that people are experiencing in Angus fall far below what is expected, and are way behind city areas including Dundee.”
“The biggest gripe people seem to have is the blatant inequality of services.
“People in rural areas often feel like second-class citizens compared to residents in more busy areas.
“They have poorer download speeds; they have poorer mobile phone coverage – in the 21st Century people should all have equal access to these services no matter where they live.”
A council spokeswoman said broadband and mobile coverage “is essential for Angus companies and residents”.
She said: “It is of vital importance to many aspects of an urban and rural life and economy. That’s why Angus Council is investing in infrastructure to support our existing businesses and residents as well as attract investment, create jobs and help make Angus the best place to live and work.
“In September our Business Angus Team are piloting a project to support digital connectivity for businesses in Angus who are not currently able to access superfast broadband.
“The team are working to establish connectivity at two sites in Arbroath and Forfar which will also allow us to extend support to two local business parks as well as more rural businesses where infrastructure permits.
“We hope there may be opportunities to work with businesses to ascertain whether this infrastructure can also assist with their digital connection needs.
“It is recognised this is a fundamental part of any business and Angus Council is committed to supporting the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world-class digital nation by 2020.”