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Tavish backs better broadband

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has urged the Scottish and the UK governments to take on board recommendations made in the Digital Power report, published by Reform Scotland on Monday.

The think-tank said that the Scottish government should acknowledge that high speed broadband are the “railways and canals” of today and they should therefore produce a framework and strategy reflecting their importance.

It said that it was vital that the Scottish and UK governments worked together to ensure that the peripheral parts of Scotland were not missed out when high speed broadband is rolled out.

On Tuesday, Mr Scott said: “The digital divide in Scotland is large and growing fast. The implications for Shetland, if we get left behind, are serious.

“Slow or non-existent broadband limits economic development. Liberal Democrats in the UK government are already working to provide better broadband coverage and speed.  The Scottish government needs to keep up.”

Mr Scott has already asked UK ministers to make Shetland one of the areas to be covered by the three high speed broadband connectivity testing projects that were proposed by the UK government in July this year.

The Shetland MSP added: “The case for Shetland to be a pilot area for the superfast broadband remains strong. I believe that, if it were offered, many individuals and businesses would sign up for it so that a Shetland pilot would allow its benefits to be well tested.

“The Reform Scotland report looks at the technical issues on how fast broadband can be rolled out to remote parts of the country.

“It shows that the Scottish government will also continue to have an important role to play. It needs to make sure that the infrastructure across Scotland, particularly in remote and rural areas, is ready for high speed broadband, so we can make the most of the UK government’s plans.

“This is too important an issue for intergovernmental rivalries to be allowed to get in the way. Ministers in London and Edinburgh must work together to make sure that peripheral areas are not left behind.”

The Reform Scotland report Digital Power can be found at: http://www.reformscotland.com/include/publications/Digital_Power.pdf