Responding to news that the ‘North Lot’ contract for the Scottish Government’s R100 broadband programme has been formally signed with BT, Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur commented:
“The Scottish Government promised to deliver superfast broadband to 100% of premises by 2021. Welcome though the signing of this contract is, it only represents the end of the procurement phase.
“Meanwhile, the pandemic has cruelly exposed the extent to which rural and island communities, like Orkney, still lag behind in terms of good broadband coverage. With more people having to work, study and try to stay connected at home, this digital divide has grown wider.
“It is vital, therefore, that Scottish Ministers set out clearly and in detail how they expect 100% coverage to be achieved in Orkney. They must also recognise the need for local coordination of any roll out plan.
“While the Scottish Government will clearly fail to meet its commitment of 100% broadband coverage by 2021, businesses and households in Orkney need to know how and when this promise will finally be delivered. They also need an assurance that those areas with the poorest coverage will be given priority.”