Latest Broadband programme running behind schedule

Checking out new full-fibre equipment are (left to right) Grant Forsyth, trainee engineer Toni Aprile, MSP John Lamont, and Openreach's Stewart Williamson, Brendan Dick and Steve Wood.
Checking out new full-fibre equipment are (left to right) Grant Forsyth, trainee engineer Toni Aprile, MSP John Lamont, and Openreach's Stewart Williamson, Brendan Dick and Steve Wood.

The Scottish Government’s flagship broadband programme is running a year late.

Contracts for the ‘Reaching 100’ programme won’t be signed until the end of the year and the Government’s pledge to roll out super-fast broadband to 100 per cent of Scottish residents by 2021 looks unlikely to be met.

Latest figures show that nearly one in five homes in the Scottish Borders still do not have access to a decent internet connection.

Four bidders are competing for the contract, and explaining the delay to SNP backbencher Stewart Stevenson, Broadband Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “A revised intervention area (listing all eligible premises) update was necessary to allow the final stages of dialogue to be based on the most up-to-date picture, taking into consideration commercial coverage plans and changes to planned Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) deployment.

“Additional premises were added back into the R100 intervention area, in part due to direction from UK Ministers that future Gainshare activity be focused on full fibre solutions. This resulted in greater than expected changes across the country; and bidders requested extensions to enable them to remain in the process and provide competitive bids.”

Borders MP John Lamont said: “R100 has been touted as the solution for everyone in the Borders, but the reality has proved to be very different. There are still far too many homes and businesses in the Borders struggling with a poor internet connection.”