New push to improve broadband connection for rural areas

The campaign to improve broadband access in the most remote areas of Shetland is continuing.

MSP Tavish Scott has set up a meeting with a satellite broadband company to investigate whether the service would be effective and if there was any financial assistance to areas without broadband internet connections. He wants to see a situation where everyone in Shetland can access online services in the same way as those in built-up areas.

He said: “The Scottish Government announced £120m for the Highlands and Islands digital connectivity last June with a further £5m fund specifically to help bring next generation broadband to some of Scotland’s remotest communities being announced in August. Left to their own devices, big business will only pick the low-hanging fruit and ensure service and infrastructure to the larger towns and cities.

“This money must be used to ensure no-one is marginalised in the digital revolution. I have asked the Scottish Government exactly how this funding will offer real results to those in Shetland who can currently only dream of sending photo attachments, let alone watching video clips, programmes and films.

“The UK Government has allocated £363m to local councils and private enterprise partnerships to bring fast broadband to rural Britain. The company I am meeting with today will be able to give me a much clearer idea of how this money should be best used, the limitations of the current national infrastructure and how we can push to ensure people in rural areas get an equal chance of broadband at a reasonable cost. The essence of our discussions will be bridging the digital divide. With both governments contributing limited funding we must find workable solutions to experience tangible results.

“This cannot come soon enough for many constituents and I shall keep pushing until every Shetland resident and business can access online services just as effectively as those in urban areas.”


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