Reid welcomes promise of High-Speed Broadband for Lochgilphead, Campbeltown, Rothesay & Raignure exchanges, but hits out at lack of action elsewhere
Alan Reid MP welcomed the promise of high-speed broadband this summer for the Lochgilphead, Campbeltown, Rothesay and Craignure exchanges, but also spoke of the frustration felt across Argyll and Bute by people waiting for a decent basic broadband speed in the first place.
He also hit out during the Commons debate on rural phones and broadband today at the lack of anything concrete for many other parts of Argyll & Bute.
"The Scottish Government and BT must be much more open and tell people when, or if, their home or business will be connected to fibre-optic broadband," Mr Reid said.
“Bringing superfast broadband to rural areas is vital. I am pleased that more than 20 per cent of the Government’s investment in superfast broadband—more than £100 million—was given to the Scottish Government to bring superfast broadband to rural areas in Scotland," he said. "However, delivery was left to the Scottish Government, and they gave the contract to BT Openreach.
"Cables have been laid and some addresses have been connected to the new superfast broadband, but most of Argyll and Bute is extremely frustrated that neither the Scottish Government nor BT can tell them when, or even if, they will get broadband. Some people on very slow speeds tell me they do not want superfast broadband; they just want a decent broadband service."
He said that not knowing what is happening prevents people from making other arrangements, such as wireless or satellite.
"Given these failings, I must congratulate a local organisation on its initiative. Mull and Iona Community Trust, (MICT) well-led by its extremely enterprising general manager, Moray Finch, is leading the way with a project that will deliver superfast broadband by wireless to parts of Mull and Islay, as well as to the islands of Iona, Colonsay, Lismore, Luing and Jura, and to Craignish on the mainland. MICT has done very well, but that same type of project should be going on throughout Argyll and Bute, because in many places it is simply not practical to deliver superfast broadband via fibre-optic cable.
"I want the Scottish Government to follow the lead of the Mull and Iona Community Trust and work with community groups throughout Argyll and Bute to deliver superfast broadband everywhere in the constituency.
"Broadband and mobile phone services are essential these days. Investment in infrastructure and much speedier action when faults occur are essential. The Scottish Government and BT must drastically improve their performance to bring superfast broadband to Argyll and Bute as a matter of urgency."