Superslow SNP slammed over broadband services in rural areas


Bonnie Argyll, where the broadband reception can be slow at times. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Lizzie Healey

The Scottish Government has backed down from its 2016 election promise to deliver superfast broadband to every home in Scotland by 2021, admitting that the commitment will not be delivered until well into the next Parliament.

And Labour MSP Jackie Baillie was in there too saving the SNP over their failure to come up with the goods yet again.

The Government’s connectivity minister told MSPs at Holyrood that their R100 programme will now not be completed until 2023 at the earliest. This marks the third delay to the project announced since 2016.

The Minister also claimed that the Scottish Government had been a significant contributor to the work that has already been carried out through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

However only racked up 16% of the total £412 million invested by the UK Government, Local Authorities and Highland’s & Islands Enterprise.

Rumbles MikeScottish Liberal Democrat connectivity spokesperson, Mike Rumbles MSP, pictured left,  said:  “The minister is delusional if he thinks people will buy his statement today. This is the third time Ministers have announced a delay to the project and it is still the case that not a single penny of R100 funding has been spent delivering superfast broadband to homes in Scotland.  

“The Government’s progress to deliver this 2016 election promise has been nothing but glacial and it is now clear that they had no intention of trying to deliver the programme on time.

“This commitment is now being replaced with a ‘voucher’ scheme. So instead of getting the service by the end of 2021 they will receive a piece of paper instead. What people want to know is when they will be connected not when they will receive a voucher!

“Ministers have utterly failed to do what they said they would do and thousands of homes in rural and remote communities have been let down by this Scottish Government.”

Baillie 10Jackie Baillie, pictured, MSP for Dumbarton and Lomond, said: “Yet again this is another broken promise in a long list by the SNP Government. This is now the third delay since this programme was launched in 2006 and it is unacceptable that people in rural parts of West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute continue to be disadvantaged.

“Local people deserve better than this, they deserve to know exactly when they can expect the superfast broadband that they were promised by the SNP.

“Fast, reliable and easy access to broadband has become a necessity in the modern world we live in, particular for rural communities. Those communities now will see their economic growth further hampered and the digital divide increase. Scottish Government Ministers must provide clear answers as to when people will get their superfast broadband.”


  1. With all of the fun of the fare, and by that I mean fare not fair, the internet companies trumpet the arrival of 5G broadband.

    What they don’t trumpet is the patchy poor broadband that persists in many parts of Scotland and not just rural area at that. And that patchy, intermittent service extends even here to not so rural Dumbarton and the Vale.

    In my particular area there is a mast just 500 metres from my home which has had problems for over a year since the antennae were replaced. That there is something technically wrong the mast regularly, and probably more often when under load, drops the internet data signal – thereby causing connected apparatus to have to try to connect, often without success, to the nearest mast which is in Port Glasgow.

    The internet provider know about the problem but a year on has not done anything because of I suspect contractual disputes with the antennae supplier and them not wishing to spend money.
    And that, in not wanting to spend money, or should I say invest, is another example of why I cannot get fast fixed line broadband because BT, who have a near monopoly in the local loop, have never invested to upgrade the copper from the nearest exchange to where I and many others live. ( And yes, BT now own the mobile provider of whom I complain for not fixing the mast antennae )

    It’s all about money for these corporates, and in the case of BT, as well as having a near monopoly on the wire into your house, BT also own substantially the spine networks, or super highways, that transfer traffic up and down the country. Ergo – your connected device only goes to the nearest radio tower, or from the house to exchange, where thereafter it is then sent down the spine networks .

    But like the power utility companies large corporates are controlled, as we all know only too well, from Westminster – and as we also know, corporate profit is the first priority.

    So yes, the position with regard to internet coverage is most certainly not as it is presented. The UK is way way behind countries like Korea – and of course bits of Scotland, and not just rural Scotland are way behind again. But no doubt that’s due to investment policy. And no we don’t like to talk about it.

    Is this therefore a matter that the Scottish Government and the SNP are to blame for as Jackie Baillie suggests, or is the regulation of huge corporates like BT, and monopolies and mergers something under the control of Westminster. Maybe Jaqueline could tell us instead of just decrying the SNP and the SG.

    I’ll leave readers to ponder that one. I know what I think, and I know also that internet coverage in parts of Dumbarton are less than stellar.

  2. And while I’m talking about corporate profits and social concerns, who do you think is responsible for monitoring power utility disconnections.
    This was a question some years back after one of the power utility companies released a press statement to say that power disconnections were infinitely low.
    And so being the regulatory responsibility of Westminster when the question was asked as to how many actual disconnections there were to household where children were maybe going outbto school from cold dark houses where there was no money for the meter, the Westminster minister responded with advice from the industry that they ….” don’t measure voluntary disconnections “
    Ho, ho, Ho ho, Ho – no wonder there’s a rush to fit pay as you go meters mandatorily when a household falls behind. No dough, no heat, it’s the punters choice, the corporates think that’s only fair. Don’t we all agree?
    And yet, it doesn’t have to be like this. there could be other ways.
    Inclining block tariffs where like income tax, the rate or the price increases with usage. Put by way of an example, why should the cotter in his single light bulb lit house pay the same rate for his first few meagre kilowatt hours whilst the billionaire landed elite in their extravagant houses pay the same rate for the power they use to heat the massive houses, swimming pools et al.
    Like income, the first hundred pounds per week is critical, the next hundred important, the next hundreds desirable and everything thereafter marginal. So why no inclining block tariffs – we do it with cars too. Or what about citizens entitlement. Even a few kilowatts as a matter of right. Or maybe we just don’t care, not worth discussing, who cares as long as I’m alright.
    But I have digressed from phone utilities to power utilities. But in doing I humbly seek to ask the question as to why we cannot have more controls over of the corporates, who profit handsomely in the delivery of everyday life essential services.
    Inclining block tariffs for power, removal of the disproportionate standing charge. Can we consider Ms Baillie and Mr Docherty Hughes. Or what about occasional columnist Brian Wilson who some twenty years ago was the UK energy minister before thereafter him taking up a senior non executive position with a power company. Surely he could help contribute to how we make things better and indeed could have done back in the day.
    Very, very important issue, and especially so as one sits in one’s house, in the depths of winter, with a howling gale outside realising the critical importance of being able to heat one’s home.
    Power, it should be in our hands, and not in the hands of the corporates with their labyrinthine structures of offshore ownership and profit transfers.

Leave a Reply