CAB - 7 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020 - Advice

Politics / MSP welcomes progress of superfast broadband project

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has welcomed news that a preferred bidder has been selected to carry out work on bringing superfast broadband to all corners of the north of Scotland.

Islands minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed on Thursday that BT had been selected as the preferred bidder for the northern lot of the Scottish’s Government’s R100 programme.

Wheelhouse said the government intends to proceed to contract with BT “as soon as possible”.

The company has also been picked to carry out the work in the central and south regions of Scotland.

The R100 project focuses on a commitment from the government to provide every home and business in Scotland with access to superfast broadband of 30Mbps.

There was an initial target of completing the work by the end of 2021, but the project has suffered delays in the procurement phase.

Shetland MSP Wishart said it was “good news’ that a preferred bidder has now been announced for the north.

“This government’s extensive delays during procurement must be compensated by a speedy roll-out learning from the experience BT has gained working in rural areas,” she said.

“The promise to reach all premises by the end of 2021 has already been dropped so islanders will expect detailed plans to be brought forward for when they can expect to be connected.

“That must be done through an ‘outside in’ approach to get to the hardest to reach and left behind areas first.”