Digital connections are key to recovery in island and rural communities

Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Orkney, Liam McArthur, has repeated his call for urgent improvement in digital connectivity in rural and island communities.

Mr McArthur's comments come in response to a recent NFU Scotland survey which highlighted a number of serious digital challenges faced by those working in the agriculture sector.


This included 77% of respondents describing their connection as 'not fit for current or future needs', 78% highlighting that poor broadband is limiting their business and 48% noting that their mobile phone signal is either poor or very poor.


Commenting on the findings, Mr McArthur said:


"This latest survey underlines how the digital divide in Scotland seriously disadvantages businesses in our rural and island communities.


"Last week, we saw evidence of the impact poor broadband and mobile coverage is having on the delivery of health and care services. Now it's the turn of the farming sector to highlight the extent to which businesses are being held back.


"The SNP promised that every household and business in Scotland would have access to high speed broadband by 2021. Island and rural communities are left counting the cost of the SNP's failure to deliver on that promise.


"Whether it's the delivery of healthcare, access to education resources or businesses moving online, Orkney cannot afford to remain in the digital slow lane. Addressing this must be a priority in the next parliament as we focus on putting the recovery first.


"After all, if the past year has shown us anything, it is that recovery for our island and rural communities cannot happen without digital connections that are fit for the 21st century."

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