Scot­land slow­est in UK on in­ter­net up­grade

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JEN­NIFER MCKIERNAN

Scot­land is lag­ging be­hind the rest of the UK when it comes to set­ting up con­tracts to roll out su­per­fast broad­band, ac­cord­ing to the UK dig­i­tal min­is­ter Matt Han­cock.

Mr Han­cock said fund­ing was al­lo­cated in Fe­bru­ary 2014, and nearly ev­ery coun­cil in Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land had com­pleted most or all of the pro­cure­ment by June 2015.

By con­trast, Scot­land has not yet started its pro­cure­ment process, as Mr Han­cock re­vealed dur­ing ques­tions to the Depart­ment for Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport.

He said: “The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has been the slow­est of all the or­gan­i­sa­tions around the coun­try to con­tract the broad­band that we so des­per­ately need. That is why Scot­land is be­hind.

“We are of­fer­ing them tech­ni­cal sup­port, but they are be­hind ev­ery English county, they’re be­hind the Welsh gov­ern­ment and be­hind the North­ern Ire­land gov­ern­ment. They need to get a move on.”

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid, Con­ser­va­tive, said the need for broad­band up­grades in ru­ral ar­eas was one of the first is­sues he raised af­ter his elec­tion.

He said: “While re­spon­si­bil­ity for leg­is­la­tion lies at West­min­ster, it is the SNP gov­ern­ment at Holy­rood that is in charge of the roll-out of su­per­fast broad­band.

“My con­stituency mailbag is full of com­plaints from res­i­dents in Banff and Buchan about poor cov­er­age and slow con­nec­tions. It is not un­com­mon for res­i­dents to re­ceive no sig­nal at all or one be­low 2Mbps. That is not ac­cept­able, but it is the re­al­ity for many peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas across Aberdeen­shire.”

“Con­stituency mailbag is full of com­plaints from res­i­dents”

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