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9 February 2018

MSP Slams Tory Broadband Claims

MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, has slammed Tory claims that not enough is being done to improve broadband.

Mr Stevenson has pointed to figures published by Ofcom that show progress in properties accessing superfast broadband is faster in Scotland than elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Between 2014 and 2016 Scotland saw a 22% increase in the proportion of properties that can access superfast broadband compared to 14% in the UK.

Rural areas in Scotland have also seen action being taken quicker than other countries with the increase in availability of superfast broadband in rural areas being at 46% in Scotland whilst England saw an increase of 38%; Northern Ireland 29% and Wales 5%.

Further figures show that had the Scottish Government not stepped in Aberdeenshire would have seen 25% of its properties access superfast broadband whilst the current figure is actually 82%.

Mr Stevenson has also pointed to The Scottish Government’s commitment to provide 100% of residential and business premises with superfast broadband which is three times faster than the UK. A commitment which has not been matched by any other country in the UK.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“It really beggers belief that a local Tory MP is having a go at the Scottish Government despite Scotland seeing faster progress in getting superfast broadband in recent years than it is being done elsewhere in the UK.

“It is the UK which is the responsibility for digital services. However, the SNP Scottish Government have made a very bold and ambitious commitment to give 100% of premises access to superfast broadband, three times that of which the UK Government will deliver, because the UK Government are not being ambitious enough. Something I know that my constituents in Banffshire & Buchan Coast are delighted about.”

Highlighting the funding being made available for the R100 programme, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“£600 million is be provided to deliver this by the SNP and rural areas are being prioritised. What are we getting from the Tories? £20 million. This is less that Devon and Somerset are getting for a less ambitious programme.

“Instead of his usual deflection of SNP bad stories perhaps Mr Duguid and his Tory colleagues should stand up for Scotland at Westminster and address the measly funding we are getting from the UK Government as well as getting improvements made to mobile coverage for the communities of the North East of Scotland.”
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