MSP slams Scottish government record on R100 roll out

Criticism has been levelled at the Scottish government following a further delay in its flagship broadband programme.

List MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has described as “staggering” the wait island communities have to gain access to speedier coverage.

However, the SNP administration says R100 delivery is “proceeding at pace”.

Mr Halcro Johnston was speaking after media reports claimed R100 had suffered further slippages to the end of the 2026-27 financial year, almost a decade since the original announcement.

“It is staggering that communities across the Highlands and Islands could end up waiting even longer before they gain access to decent broadband,” he said.

“It’s shameful that the SNP government is landing our region with yet another infrastructure procurement fiasco.

“Local communities across the region, particularly those on some of our islands, are already being hit by Edinburgh’s total mismanagement of our ferry network and new vessel procurement which has resulted in a worsening ferries crisis.

“This is simply not good enough and the Highlands and Islands deserves better.

“It’s time that Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers recognised that these delays mean lost investment and lost jobs, something which the Highlands and Islands simply cannot afford.”

The Scottish government said it expected the vast majority of work in the North of Scotland and islands to be complete by the end of 2026.

“We continue to work closely with Openreach to accelerate deployment wherever possible,” a statement read.

“Despite telecoms legislation being reserved to the UK government, we are investing £384 million to extend fast, reliable broadband to over 59,000 homes and businesses across the North of Scotland and islands, delivering infrastructure which far exceeds our superfast commitment.

“Providing a high standard of digital connectivity is at the heart of our plans for a resilient, green economic recovery from coronavirus.

“Through a combination of commercial build, our R100 contracts and our R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, which offers a subsidy of up to £5,000 to secure a superfast broadband connection, we will ensure our 100 per cent commitment is achieved.”


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