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Broadband help

LOCAL people suffering from low broadband speeds can hope for some improvement to their services thanks to two recent UK government announcements.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael is pursuing a response from Treasury secretary Andrew Jones MP as to whether new funds worth £120 million announced in the budget will be assigned on the basis of need rather than population.

So far, the MP for Orkney and Shetland has received no more than a holding answer saying that the Treasury would look into it and get back to him.

Carmichael said it looks as though there was very little detail underneath the headlines of last week’s budget.

“It is vital that those communities in the Northern Isles, which have been left behind at every other stage of broadband roll out, are at the front of the queue for this new government investment,” he said.

The money will bypass the Scottish Government and be given directly to local authorities in a bidding process.

Meanwhile the same government has announced that a scheme to help difficult to reach properties and businesses has been extended by another year until the end of 2018.

The Better Broadband scheme provides a subsidy of £350 to enable access to an affordable broadband service to those who are unable to get speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Taking out a broadband service under this scheme does not prevent premises from being considered for superfast broadband in the future.

More info about availability can be found at https://gosuperfastchecker.culture.gov.uk

Meanwhile, the Scottish government said rural areas continued to benefit from its superfast broadband rollout.

Connectivity minister Fergus Ewing renewed the government’s commitment to have everybody connected to superfast broadband by 2021.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021