Highlands among the worst in Britain for broadband speeds
THE HIGHLANDS has been ranked as one of the worst places in Britain for broadband speeds.
Consumer champion Which? revealed the news last week following new analysis.
The Highlands finished in the bottom five for Scotland, alongside Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, with speeds falling below 10mbps.
10Mbps is the minimum download speed proposed under the Government’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) that anyone in the UK would be entitled to request and is regarded as necessary to meet the typical demands of a family or small business.
Commenting on the report, Scottish Labour Connectivity spokesperson Rhoda Grant said it was proof of ‘unacceptable delays and failure from the SNP’.
‘This report again highlights that remote and rural areas including Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and the Highlands are still at the back of the queue for connections and that more than half of homes in some parts of rural Scotland are still struggling with very slow internet speeds,’ she said. ‘It’s the rural areas that have most to gain from being able to access superfast broadband but yet again the Highlands and Islands appear to be an afterthought.’
But Cabinet Secretary for Connectivity Fergus Ewing said the Scottish Government is on track to deliver fibre broadband to at least 95 per cent of premises across Scotland by the end of this year.
He said: ‘ Without our investment, only 66 per cent of premises would have been reached, with as little as 21 per cent cov- erage across the Highlands and no coverage at all in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.’
Mr Ewing added he is aware many homes and businesses do not yet have access.
In the Highland Council area 25 per cent of premises had access to fibre broadband in 2012.
Most recent figures show that 75 per cent of premises across the Highland Council area can now access fibre broadband and 69 per cent are capable of accessing superfast speeds.
Ms Grant said broadband is key to fighting population de- cline across the Highlands and Islands.
‘Rural areas need broadband to compete in the global market place and to safeguard against population decline. Rural and island schools and colleges need it to deliver to remote students and our health boards need it to deliver tele-health services to remote patients.
‘ We need solutions to the unequal and unfair distribution of fast broadband across Scotland, which is seeing the Highlands and Islands being left behind, and we need these solutions sooner rather than later.’ Which?’s Fix Bad Broadband campaign is calling on people to use its free speed checker to find out what broadband speed they are currently getting and if they are not getting the speeds they were promised, helps them complain to their provider using a complaint tool.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said: ‘Far too many households across the UK are suffering from slow broadband speeds, which can stop you being able to carry out essential daily tasks.’