A NORTH-EAST MP has slammed the SNP Government for neglecting rural communities after new figures show no homes in Banff and Buchan have been connected to superfast broadband through its flagship R100 programme – six years since it was announced.
New statistics from the Scottish Government show not a single property across the area has been hooked up to faster internet from the scheme, which includes places such as Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Macduff.
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Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said rural communities were being “short-changed” and “left behind” by the SNP Government on broadband.
Those not covered by the R100 scheme can apply for a one-off voucher of £5,000 to help them set up a permanent superfast connection themselves but only 137 applications have been made by those living in Mr Duguid’s area.
Across the Banff and Buchan coast, superfast broadband (over 30Mbps) access stands at around 85 percent compared to 95 percent for the whole of Scotland.
In Aberdeenshire East, just 963 properties have benefited from the scheme while in Aberdeenshire West, 999 households have been connected.
The R100 scheme was supposed to bring faster internet to 60,000 properties across the north and north-east by the end of 2021 but has only delivered to 9,320 so far, with 51,444 still to be connected.
Banff and Buchan Conservative MP David Duguid said: “For the majority of people across rural Aberdeenshire at the moment, having superfast broadband is a distant dream because the SNP’s rollout of the R100 scheme has been shambolic.
“Rural communities are severely lagging behind and North East rural communities have once again been pushed to the side in favour of the Central Belt which is an all too common occurrence under the SNP Government.
“These appalling figures are a slap in the face to my rural constituents whose lives and businesses are being negatively impacted by poor broadband.
“It’s clear this failure from the SNP Government is being hardest felt by individuals and businesses in the North East, particularly across Banff and Buchan.
“The SNP’s usual excuse is that ‘the internet is reserved to Westminster’, but it was they who insisted that they could deliver a successful roll-out, and it is they who have failed miserably to do so.
“I continue to engage heavily with the telecoms industry and UK Government Ministers, but it is frustrating to be told that any attempts to resolve the situation have to be ‘negotiated’ with the Scottish Government.”