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Thursday, February 22, 2024

McArthur Invites First Minister for a Tour of Orkney After Claim “All Homes Can Access Superfast Broadband”

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Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur has invited the First Minister on a tour of Orkney to explain the government’s broadband policy to locals, after Humza Yousaf claimed that every home in Scotland could access superfast broadband.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions today, Mr Yousaf said that “all homes and businesses in Scotland can currently access a superfast broadband service”, and that the government’s R100 programme was “going beyond that” to even faster speeds.

Data from Ofcom shows that superfast availability in many Orkney postcodes is 0%, and that every part of Orkney (outside Kirkwall) is in the lowest 10% of areas in the UK for superfast availability and download speeds.

Mr Yousaf’s remarkable assertion follows a similar claim by Business Minister, Richard Lochhead in response to a written question from Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart last year.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“The SNP originally promised superfast broadband to 100% of homes and businesses by 2021.

“When that deadline came and went, Ministers sought to blame the failure on everyone else, including Westminster.

“Now, it appears that the strategy of Humza Yousaf and his ministerial colleagues is simply to claim the target has been reached.  

“This will come as news to the regulator, Ofcom, which regularly reports on how poorly served Orkney continues to be in terms of broadband speeds and coverage.

“The First Minister’s claim will also have left many islanders scratching their heads as to what they’ve been doing wrong to be left with poor or indeed no broadband service at all. 

“Clearly there has been a simple misunderstanding.

“Given his comments at FMQs today, I will be inviting the First Minister on a tour of the islands where he can explain to local households and businesses how they can access the superfast broadband that apparently has now been delivered.”

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