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Election / Lib Dems say broadband provision is a ‘scandal’

The Mesomorphic team with (L-R) Jo Swinson, Beatrice Wishart and Alistair Carmichael.

LIBERAL Democrat campaigners have criticised the Scottish Government for “delays and mismanagement” in bringing superfast broadband to the whole of Shetland.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and Scottish Lib Dem candidate for the forthcoming by-election Beatrice Wishart highlighted the problems poor broadband and failure to fully implement the R100 programme is causing Shetlanders, following a visit to software firm Mesomorphic on the campaign trail in Lerwick yesterday (Friday).

Questioning by the Scottish Liberal Democrats earlier this year “revealed” that the tendering process for delivering the R100 programme would take almost two years.

Swinson said: “Our visit to Mesomorphic today was illuminating. The team do an incredible job supporting other budding businesses. Communities like Shetland need a mix of jobs in the local economy, and for that to happen the government needs to support companies by providing the necessary infrastructure. That is why the SNP failure on super fast broadband is so damaging.

“The delivery of the R100 programme is a real concern for many of the people I have talked to in Shetland. Businesses are dependent on their ability to connect to trade partners and colleagues on the mainland. Shoddy internet links put those operations in jeopardy and stall enterprise in the isles.

“The SNP have a responsibility to follow through on their promises. It’s important they speed up the broadband rollout so they don’t let people down, and follow an outward in model so the most remote areas get attention first.”

Wishart said: “Broadband provisions in the Northern Isles are simply not up to standard.

“The Scottish Government has repeatedly promised that every premises in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband. The scheme has been plagued by delays and mismanagement, and by kicking the can down the road they’re letting islanders down.

“There’s no use in scapegoating these failings on Westminster. The SNP made a crystal clear promise to ensure every household and business would have access and many many Shetlanders are missing out, especially on the outer isles.

Read more about all ten candidates at our special Shetland by-election page at: https://www.shetnews.co.uk/category/features/election-2019/