McArthur and Carmichael to host Digital Forum

Orkney's representatives, Liam McArthur MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP, are set to host a Northern Isles Digital Forum in Orkney on Friday 25 February, 11am to 1pm in the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall.

The Digital Forum is a chance to hear a number of presentations covering the challenges and on-going work to improve broadband and mobile coverage within the county.  The presentations will be followed by a public Q&A session which will give the public an opportunity to raise any questions or concerns.

Invited participants include senior representatives from the Scottish Government's Reaching 100 (R100) Programme and BT Openreach, alongside local representation from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and CloudNet Solutions.

It will mark the first occasion a Digital Forum has been held since 2019 due to the restrictions of the pandemic.  Virtual attendance is available via Zoom for members of the public and the session will be made publicly available to watch. 

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
"The urgent need for better digital connections in our islands is well recognised.  Indeed, home working and schooling over the pandemic has been a valuable reminder that these digital connections are crucially important and need to be delivered in ways that meet local circumstances.

"While there has been some progress in recent years, it is clear the rollout of superfast broadband is still far too sluggish and well behind the government's promise of 100% coverage by 2021.

"I am therefore delighted that we are able to host the first Digital Forum in Orkney since the start of the pandemic, which will give the public an opportunity to discuss these issues with some of those taking decisions.  They have been well attended in recent years and I would encourage anyone interested to please come along to hear about what is going on and make your views known."
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael added:

"The pandemic has proven a barrier to holding a Digital Forum in the past two years but it has also made clear just how important digital connectivity is for our communities.  Between home working, remote learning and no shortage of Zoom calls, we all know the value of connectivity and the frustration when that connectivity is not consistent.  I am glad that once again we can bring key policy makers to the isles and discuss the key issues with improving connections here.
"Progress on broadband and mobile coverage has been slow but steady over past years, but we cannot be complacent.  It is vital that we keep the pressure up, raise local issues that may have been overlooked and ensure that those responsible for digital rollout know just how important connectivity is for people in the isles."

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