Orkney’s MSP and MP, Liam McArthur and Alistair Carmichael have reacted to a “Which?” report showing that Orkney has the slowest broadband speeds of any area in Scotland by repeating calls for the UK and Scottish Governments to prioritise future investment in the islands.
“Which?” found the areas suffering from the slowest internet speeds in the UK were Orkney (3Mbps), Shetland (6.7Mbps), Argyll and Bute (7Mbps) and Moray (7.1Mbps).
Liam and Alistair have long campaigned for urgent improvement of local broadband services. The Scottish Government has committed to delivering high speed broadband to 100% of premises across Scotland by 2021. This R100 programme, however, remains in the procurement phase.
Reacting to the figures, Mr McArthur said:
“This report underlines the raw deal that people in Orkney continue to get in terms of broadband services. Not only is the level of coverage lower than anywhere else in the country, but average speeds are slower as well.
“The Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering high speed broadband to 100% of premises by 2021 is welcome, but the timetable is already challenging. It is imperative, however, that funding is prioritised at those areas where the need is greatest. That means an ‘islands first’ approach”.
Mr Carmichael also said:
“These figures will make difficult reading for both of Scotland’s Governments as they show the digital divide between the Northern Isles and the Central belt is getting wider, not narrower.
"The Scottish Government are about to launch their procurement for the next phase of broadband roll-out, and anything other than a focus on Scotland’s rural and islands communities would be a betrayal of their commitments to deliver reliable superfast broadband across the country.”