We’ll deliver full fibre broadband to Highlands by 2027, says Edward Mountain
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The Scottish Conservatives have made it one of their top five election pledges to connect every home and business to full fibre broadband by the end of 2027.
They have also promised to pass legislation so that every new build home must come with a connection to full-fibre broadband, which offers download speeds of up to 1000 Mbps.
The Scottish Government has committed to providing superfast broadband access – speeds of at least 30Mbps – to every home and business in Scotland. Unique in the UK, the Reaching 100% (R100) programme builds on the success of the DSSB programme and will "ensure universal superfast broadband access", according to a government document.
In 2016, the SNP promised to rollout R100 to the Highlands by the end of 2021, but this scheme has been mired in "dither and delay", say the Scottish Conservatives.
In March 2021, the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and Islands admitted that the Highlands and Islands would not receive R100 in full until 2026.
Edward Mountain said: “The Highlands is more reliant than ever on digital connectivity but too many homes and businesses are struggling with little to no internet at all.
“That has to change and that’s why the Scottish Conservatives are promising to connect everyone to full fibre broadband by 2027, prioritising its delivery to rural and remote areas of the Highlands.
“The SNP cannot be trusted with delivering vital digital infrastructure and they have broken their promise to deliver R100 to the Highlands by 2021.
“Fergus Ewing promised to resign if that target wasn’t met but to save his embarrassment the SNP Government removed this responsibility from his portfolio as a Cabinet Secretary.
“The SNP’s rollout has suffered from so much dither and delay that once it is complete the technology will be out-of-date.
“The Highlands needs a solution that is future-proof and that is why the Scottish Conservatives will deliver full-fibre broadband, which has superior download speeds.”
Jamie Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, had also criticised the delay.
He claimed the Scottish Government was "deepening the digital divide" and pointed out that superfast broadband coverage in his constituency is 78.86 per cent. The Scottish average is 94.6 percent while it is 97 per cent in the UK.