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MP asks UK Government to address broadband ‘shortfall’

By David Porter

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A north-east MP has asked the UK Government to step in to “make up for the shortfall” in delivery of superfast broadband north of the border.

David Duguid raised the issue at Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport questions (DCMS) in the House of Commons.

David Duguid has raised the issue of broadband connectivity.
David Duguid has raised the issue of broadband connectivity.

The Scottish Conservative MP said that Aberdeenshire Council had previously approached the UK Government for assistance but was told that it would be covered under the SNP Government’s Reaching 100 (R100) superfast broadband programme.

However, SNP Ministers admitted last week that its 2021 target for delivery would not be met and the programme is now several years behind schedule.

There is currently no firm timetable for delivery of 100 per cent coverage for the north of Scotland.

In his question, Mr Duguid said: “My constituency of Banff and Buchan is amongst the lowest covered areas for superfast broadband in the whole of the UK.

“When Aberdeenshire Council applied to the UK Government for additional support, one of the reasons it was declined was that it was assumed to be covered by the Scottish Government’s R100 programme.

“Now that the Scottish Government has admitted that it will be several years late, can we revisit coverage for places like Banff and Buchan for support from the UK Government to make up for the shortfall by the Scottish Government.”

In response, Matt Warman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “He is right to highlight the deeply disappointing delays to the R100 scheme administered by the Scottish Government.

“I will shortly be meeting with my Scottish counterpart Paul Wheelhouse again to see how the government can help the Scottish Government to go further and faster because it certainly needs to.”

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