Rural broadband promise

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Ofcom’s annual report should be a ‘wake-up call for the Scottish Government about poor broadband coverage in rural areas.

The report concludes that in 2017, 87% of premises in Scotland had access to superfast broadband, behind the UK wide figure of 91% (England 92% and Wales 89%). In rural areas 27% of premises don’t have decent broadband.

However, Ofcom has indicated that around 150,000 premises in Scotland will qualify for the UK Government’s Universal Service Obligation, which aims to give every household and small business the right to request a broadband service capable of a download speed of at least 10Mbit/s, and an upload speed of at least 1Mbit/s.

Borders MP John Lamont said: “This really needs to be a wake-up call for the Scottish Government, who are in denial about the state of broadband in rural areas like the Borders.

“Because the Scottish Government decided they wanted to control the delivery of superfast broadband themselves rather than allow local councils to do it, the focus has inevitably been on the easier to connect properties in the central belt. The Scottish Government have left rural areas to another day, which is why places like the Borders are being left behind.

“The Universal Service Obligation will give everyone a legal right to a decent broadband connection. Many people in the Borders, will for the first time, have the right to demand a decent connection.”