Broadband progress welcomed by Falkirk East MSP

Broadband speeds are under scrutiny. Photo : Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Broadband speeds are under scrutiny. Photo : Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Scottish Government’s £600 million Reaching 100 (R100) programme, designed to provide 100 per cent of premises in Scotland with superfast broadband, has taken a step forward.

SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, asked the Scottish Government for an update on the appointment of preferred bidders for the contracts.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Connectivity and the Islands answered by saying that for the three contracts available, North, Central and South, BT were the sole bidder for Central and South, with more than one bidder for North.

Subject to final contracts being drawn and due diligence being carried out, R100 will roll out as soon as possible in Central Scotland meaning that those premises not served by the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) rollout, which achieved 95 per cent coverage of premises in Scotland by December 2017, will be in line for a major upgrade to their internet connectivity soon.

Mr MacDonald said: “I know that many of my constituents in rural and hard to reach parts of my constituency will be pleased on hearing the news that a contractor has been chosen to roll out the next phase of Scotland’s digital infrastructure plan, R100, subject to further checks.

“Although the UK government are responsible for internet connectivity, these achievements through DSSB and the new R100 programme have only been possible due to the investment and work of the Scottish Government.

“I fully understand and sympathise with the frustrations of those who feel left behind when it comes to connectivity. However, I must stress that the Scottish Government have been working to get them connected, while being hampered by the lack of effort and investment from others.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government is moving the R100 programme forward. Scotland needs to be connected in a modern, global world where businesses and individuals need a good quality internet connection to keep in regular contact with family and carry out their business as they need to. This is ever more important with Brexit on the horizon.

“I look forward to seeing more progress made on this issue, and to all of my constituents having the ability to get connected to superfast broadband in the near future.”