Broadside for broadband

Broadband speed in many rural areas is still not up to scratch.
Broadband speed in many rural areas is still not up to scratch.

A new Scottish Affairs Committee report lays bare the reality of access to reliable broadband in rural Scotland.

The Digital Connectivity in Scotland report is the conclusion of a seven-month long inquiry into broadband and mobile phone coverage.

Around one third of the evidence received by the committee came from Borders community councils, businesses and residents.

Now the committee is calling on the UK and Scottish Governments to put “intense political disagreement” aside and work better together. Decent broadband is an essential utility and they want to see stronger consumer rights and better Government initiatives to connect hard-to-reach areas.

Committee vice-chair, Borders MP John Lamont, said: “The evidence received from the Borders was really useful. It revealed the huge difference between the speeds broadband providers are telling customers they will get and what ends up being the reality.

“That is why the committee has recommended tougher rules for broadband providers, including automatic compensation and a stricter definition of what can be called a ‘fibre’ connection. Borders residents are sick of reading about superfast broadband being delivered in the central belt when over 10,000 properties in the Borders are still waiting for a decent connection.”

“There is also clearly a large amount of disagreement between Scotland’s two Governments on this issue. This report is right to call for this to be set aside and for Westminster and Holyrood to work together to deliver better broadband for all.”