The Scottish government has “no further excuse” for failing to roll out superfast broadband in the isles, an MSP has insisted.
Comments by Labour’s Rhoda Grant follows news that a court case relating to the roll out of the the SNP administration’s R100 programme has been settled.
But the Highlands and Islands member insists properties in places like Shetland must to be connected.
It comes after elected members discussed connectivity at Wednesday’s full council meeting.
A report before councillors showed an estimated 26 per cent of homes and businesses in Shetland are not connected to a network capable of delivering 30mbps or more.
That is well above the estimate of five per cent in Scotland. The report stated it was clear Shetland needed to see a “significant improvement” of broadband infrastructure as soon as possible.
Ms Grant said: “Since the SNP came to power in 2007, I, and my former colleague, Peter Peacock, have campaigned vigorously for improvement to broadband connections in the Highlands and Islands.
“Excuse after excuse has been given by SNP ministers for this not happening, in spite of it being one of their manifesto pledges in 2016, in 2017 and in 2019.
“This court ruling now leaves the SNP with nowhere to hide.”
She added communities had been crying out for years for better broadband, or indeed in some cases, any broadband.
“Highlands and Islands Enterprise did the best job they possibly could in getting broadband out round our region but they need the proper financial resources to do this.
“Indeed the Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said he would quit if the broadband pledge wasn’t met by 2021. He should now reflect on this and ensure the money needed gets directed to the Highlands and Islands without any further delay.
“Our communities desperately need it, even more so now with Covid meaning that everyone is relying is more on internet connections, for learning, for business, for health consultations and for social purposes.
“The SNP need to finally show the people of the Highlands and Islands that they matter and get these connections rolled out to our communities.”