Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday met with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, to discuss future plans for the rollout of superfast fibre broadband to the Western Isles.
Since superfast was first brought to the islands in July of 2015, 166 cabinets have been activated across the islands as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme. This has enabled superfast broadband for approximately 75% of the Western Isles.
The present programme will come to an end in March of 2018 and plans for the Reaching 100% (R100) programme - which will deliver superfast broadband access to those not included in the DSSB programme - are currently being worked on.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
"This was a useful opportunity to discuss the rollout in the Western Isles so far, and the upcoming R100 procurement. There's been a huge amount of progress achieved to date in the islands with around three quarters of properties now having access to superfast broadband. This would not have been possible without public intervention.
"However, people who the rollout has not yet reached are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to get superfast and I will continue to push for more information on this. I think the next stage of procurement needs to ensure that those without internet, or with extremely slow speeds, are prioritised.
"Uniquely in the UK, the Scottish Government has given a commitment that 100% of properties across Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by 2021. This is despite broadband being an area that is reserved to the UK Government."