MSP demands digital revolution for ‘hard to reach’ parts of isles

MSP Beatrice Wishart quizzed engineers from Openreach about Shetland’s digital future during a drop-in session at the Scottish Parliament last Thursday.

Ms Wishart heard about the work being done to upgrade the country’s broadband network and how politicians could help industry investors to speed up the build.

MSP Beatrice Wishart finds out more about the work of Openreach.

She also tried connecting tiny glass fibres used to transmit data at the speed of light and chatted to some of the 220 new apprentices taken on by Openreach in Scotland this year.

Ms Wishart said: “I was pleased to be able to meet with Openreach to learn about the important upgrades to the network. It’s clear, however, that too many people in Shetland are struggling to get the internet speeds they need. Good connectivity is increasingly essential for people to access public services.

“The isles cannot be left behind so it is crucial that any further build is targeted from the outside in so that the hard to reach places in Shetland who have waited longest for superfast broadband are connected first.”

The drop-in event was hosted by Brendan Dick, chairman of the Openreach board in Scotland.

He said: “We can’t build a new full fibre network for Scotland without support from our public sector partners. It won’t be quick or easy, but action to reduce red tape and remove barriers will speed things up.

“The Scottish government has already reduced the tax on fibre infrastructure but we also need to make street works and getting access to land and blocks of flats simpler and mandate full fibre for all new housing developments, which we think is a no-brainer.

“But this is not simply about putting wires into the ground. It’s about what full fibre technology can do for Scotland, helping to answer long term challenges like energy use, climate change and sustainable rural communities.”


Add Your Comment
  • Charles L. Gallagher

    • October 8th, 2019 21:49

    I would have thought Ms. Wishart would have known that the responsibility for ‘Broadband’ lies at Wastemonster and if she wants it speeded-up then she needs to give Alistair a sharp prod. That the Scottish Government has been contributing to Broadband roll-out this has been to make-up for the abysmal short-fall in Wastemonster performance.

    I know it is difficult for the public sometimes to know what is Devolved and what is Reserved but I expect our MSP to know where responsibilities actually lie and not to try and make cheap political capital.

    You are also fully aware that for the last nine years the Scottish Government has spent £millions on elevating the heinous austerity measures introduced by the Lib/Dems while in coalition with the Tories. Even you yourself have done excellent work on dealing with local women’s cases caused by policies your new leader voted for. You know it and we know it.

  • ian tinkler

    • October 9th, 2019 10:35

    So the SNP were lying about delivering Broadband. I am not really surprised. Just about par for the course. How can you support this Nationalist rabble Charles L. Gallagher?
    ” Below is a statement given by Fergus Ewing to the Scottish Parliament on how the Scottish Government will invest £600 million to deliver superfast broadband to every home and business in Scotland.
    The announcement in last week’s budget that the Scottish Government is committing £600 million to the first phase of the Reaching 100% superfast broadband programme is fantastic news for Scotland.”


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