Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has highlighted the urgent need for improved broadband coverage across Orkney to meet increasing levels of demand.
Following concerns raised by constituents, required to work or study from home, about the speed, stability and quality of broadband services, Mr McArthur has written to the Scottish Government, BT and Openreach. Orkney’s MSP has made the case both for short term improvements to meet increased demand as well as accelerating the roll out of the government’s R100 programme.
Commenting on the issue, Mr McArthur said:
“For too long, rural and island communities have suffered from relatively poor and unreliable connectivity. This has put them at a disadvantage compared to other parts of the country. With people now being asked to spend more time working or studying at home, these problems have been made many times worse.
“Even in areas where the service has been reasonable in recent years, the increased pressure on the system appears to be causing problems. Whether it is work, study or leisure, good quality broadband is vital for keeping households connected and, in many cases, businesses operating.
“This demands a response in the short term, but with changes to working practices likely to last beyond the current lockdown, we also need to see greater urgency in the longer term roll out of high speed broadband. I have written, therefore, to the Scottish Government and those responsible for the infrastructure, to ask what steps they are taking to address these problems.
“If Ministers are asking people to stay at home, quite rightly, they need to ensure they have the means to stay in touch, access services and work. This means prioritising investment in those areas, such as Orkney, with the poorest coverage”.