McArthur: Ministers must help reduce broadband engineering delays

Orkney MSP’s Liam McArthur has today urged Scottish Government Ministers to help reduce delays in fixing phone and broadband faults across rural and island areas.

Speaking during questions in Parliament this afternoon on the importance of broadband to tourism businesses in the Highlands & Islands, Mr McArthur informed the Cabinet Secretary that many local businesses and households in Orkney were waiting weeks and sometimes months for faults to be fixed.

The MSP went on to urge the Scottish Government to take steps to help reduce these delays, something Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, agreed to do in consultation with her ministerial colleagues.

Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:

“At this time of year, it is almost inevitable that the weather is going to disrupt phone and broadband services from time to time. I would also want to pay tribute to local engineers for the work they do, often in horrendous conditions, to try to get businesses and households re-connected.

“Yet constituents are regularly in touch with me having waited weeks and sometimes months to get their services up and running again. Even with the logistical challenges that Orkney can present, this falls short of what customers should expect.

“As well as looking at the issue of resources, particularly in the aftermath of storms, I believe more needs to be done to simplify the way in which faults are reported and addressed. The current system is often unclear and convoluted, leading to frustration for customers as well as for engineers carrying out repair work.

“In urban areas, it is hard to see such delays being tolerated. In rural and island areas, where weather and logistics can be more challenging, it is even more important that all unnecessary obstacles to dealing with faults are removed.

“I welcome the Minister’s agreement to ensure these concerns are taken up with BT by the government and look forward to seeing progress made”.


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