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Rumbles points finger at Ewing

Scots ministers ‘making excuses’ on broadband

Target to reach remote areas

Scottish government ministers have been accused of blaming BT for their own failure to provide broadband to 100% of households.

Liberal Democrat connectivity spokesperson Mike Rumbles said the government knows it will struggle to fulfil a manifesto promise of 30mbps for every home and business in Scotland by 2021.

But he claims it is using an offer from BT as an excuse. The telecoms firm has offered to provide broadband infrastructure to 99% of the UK.

In a letter to UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the proposal put at risk plans to have superfast broadband in all properties.

“That is why they are getting their excuses in early,” said Mr Rumbles. “Any failure can be blamed on the UK Government, rather than admitting that it is time the Scottish Government put their hands in their pockets instead of relying on Broadband Development UK. 

“Recent figures show that rural communities are being left behind, with even areas that do have access to broadband facing levels of connectivity that are woefully inadequate.

“Despite new technologies being developed and speeds for some getting faster and faster, businesses and residents outside of the central belt have too often been at the back of the queue for improvements. 

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have repeatedly warned that both of Scotland’s governments and providers must finally prioritise areas like the Northern Isles, Highlands and the North East.

“That’s why we need a firm commitment from them on timescale and resources so that people know they won’t be left in the technological dark ages as well as support for local-led community broadband schemes that can bring broadband access to those hard to reach areas.”

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