Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has said that it is time for results on broadband rollout, after the Culture Minister declared an extra 4,000 further premises in the Northern Isles will be covered by superfast broadband by the end of December 2016.
In a letter to Mr Carmichael, Minister Ed Vaizey said that the £50.8m investment for superfast broadband in the Highlands and Islands had reached over 10,000 premises in Orkney and Shetland but only 711 this year – the majority of these in Orkney.
However, Mr Carmichael was pleased that the government reiterated their support for automatic compensation for people who suffer from poor broadband, something he has longed advocated and wants to legislate for in Parliament.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“Just last month the government claimed in a consultation proposal that 100% universal broadband coverage does not represent “value for money”. Now they are proudly declaring the financing of £50m for the Highlands and Islands but are falling short in delivery and are delaying the roll out of a Universal Service Obligation for broadband. They obviously think that they can change things just by making announcements. They seem clueless about the scale of the challenge they have taken on.
“Last week parts of Orkney received 4G mobile data for the first time. It appears that we are finally receiving a level of connectivity expected by people in urban areas of the country.
“I am looking to hold more digital forums in Orkney and Shetland in August, and will be interested to hear from local people whether these latest pledges have materialised. Liam McArthur, Tavish Scott and I will continue to keep up the pressure on both the UK and Scottish governments to come through with their promises on superfast broadband.”