MSP argues broadband court ruling leaves SNP with ‘nowhere to hide’

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.”


Add Your Comment
  • Fred Schlomka

    • September 11th, 2020 7:40

    Ever since I started coming to Shetland 5 years ago everyone complains about the lack of reliable broadband, and the need to lay fibre optic cable throughout Shetland. I find this puzzling since broadband is readily available via mobile phone networks. My EE service on Unst consistently provides unlimited 4G data service of 35mbps at reasonable cost. This is sufficient for most peoples’ needs. Except in marginal cases, It would likely be much more cost effective and efficient for the government to subsidise expanded mobile service, even to 5G, than to lay fibre optic cable to everyone’s doorstep. The future is with wireless services. Technology is growing at a rapid pace and soon bringing any kind of communication cable into homes and offices will be entirely redundant.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.