Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has responded to the Ofcom Connecting Nations report which was published this morning. The report shows that Orkney and Shetland continue to lag behind, with around two in three homes having access to superfast broadband compared to more than nine in ten homes across Scotland. Additionally the report shows that 21% of residents in Shetland and 28% of residents in Orkney do not yet have access to the Universal Service Obligation level of 10 Mbps, which comes into force from 2020.
Commenting on the report, Mr. Carmichael said:
“While things are getting better for our digital connectivity, there is clearly still a long way to go. We started further behind the towns and the cities, and their provision has improved at a faster rate than ours, so they are further ahead now than ever. These statistics will make tough reading for the Scottish and UK Governments who have still not delivered the broadband connectivity and digital infrastructure that many rural areas require.
“Around 12,000 homes across Scotland are unable to access a decent fixed broadband or have reliable 4G service, and many of them will be in rural communities like ours. It is simply unacceptable.
“Both of Scotland’s Governments must work together to invest in improved coverage, to ensure that Orkney and Shetland do not have to wait until 2020 to have the same access to reliable internet as the rest of the Country, and this must include new use of mobile technology, use of TV whitespace, and the roll-out of 5G like we are seeing tested in Orkney right now.”