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Super-slow action on Moray's broadband

By Lorna Thompson

THE Scottish Government has faced more criticism over delays in action to improve Moray's poor broadband connectivity.

Ministers admitted last week that targets on delivering superfast broadband are likely to be missed.

The R100 programme – the SNP’s flagship policy to deliver superfast broadband to 100% of premises across Scotland – has been beset by delays and is now running a year behind.

The Scottish Parliament was told that contracts for the programme will now not be signed until the end of 2019. This is despite a pledge by Rural Affairs and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing to step down if the deadline for reaching 100% by 2021 is not met.

Superfast broadband targets are likely to be missed.
Superfast broadband targets are likely to be missed.

Earlier this year, consumer group Which? found northern Scotland as having some of the worst broadband connection speeds in the UK – with Moray as the worst performing mainland local authority in Scotland.

In 2017, the UK Government criticised SNP ministers for repeated delays after money granted to the Scottish Government in 2014 for broadband was still unused.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: "The R100 programme was heralded as a way to tackle slow broadband in some of the hardest-to-reach parts of Scotland – particularly in remote and rural communities like many of those across Moray.

"But despite the assurances of SNP ministers that everything was on track, we now know that not only has no work been started, but that contracts will not even be signed until at least the end of the year.

"We know there are often challenges in delivering services to parts of the Highlands and Islands. But Moray needs better broadband – it’s vital for both individuals, for businesses and for the delivery or support of an increasing number of public services. Without it, local people are being denied access to services others across Scotland take for granted."

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