Ministers in Scotland are accused of slashing the budget for digital infrastructure by £50 million and delaying the rollout of superfast broadband across the country. The Reaching 100% (R100) program guarantees thirty megabits per second to every house and company, but it comes with an insane number of deadlines.
It was revealed in March that the northern portion of the program would not be completed until 2026, but it was revealed last month that this had been pushed back another twelve months.
According to a written response obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, funding dropped from £66.2 million in 2017-18 to just £27.1 million the next year, and then to £18 million in 2019-20.
Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary Rachael Hamilton says it’s “astonishing” that SNP ministers thought it had been acceptable to chop funding at a time once-rural communities were expecting to finally fancy broadband speeds that were suited for the purpose.
“It is astonishing that the SNP were cutting down funding on digital infrastructure at this point. They never stop talking up their flagship R100 theme, however, they clearly weren’t ready to support their words with the investment required,” she said.
“It’s now official that they have been unsuccessful miserably to deliver on their promise to supply superfast broadband for all by the end of 2021. Yet again, they’re leaving rural communities behind having promised huge, however under-delivered.”, she added.
She further said, “It is a small surprise several rural communities are about to be waiting years for higher connectivity with the SNP dynamic, virtually £50m from their digital infrastructure budget within the space of just some years.”
“Ministers are currently making an attempt to make up for a lost time, however, that’s of very little comfort to folks in rural and remote areas eager to be connected. The SNP’s misguided disbursement priorities mean that the recovery in areas just like the one I represent is going to require even longer.”
The Scottish government claims it’s operating “at pace” and aforesaid it expected the overwhelming majority of labor within the North of European countries and islands are going to be complete by the end of 2026, and putting digital property at the heart of its plans for an inexperienced recovery.
It is investing £384 million to increase quick, reliable broadband to over 59,000 homes and businesses across the North of European countries and islands.