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Delivery of superfast broadband to the Highlands delayed

By Scott Maclennan

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Edward Mountain.
Edward Mountain.

The delivery of superfast broadband to the Highlands has been indefinitely delayed after the Scottish Government confirmed it would miss its 2021 targets for its flagship programme.

The Reaching 100 per cent of premises (R100) project aimed to connect businesses and households to the internet with speeds of up to 30 megabits per second.

Gigaclear lost out to Openreach for a contract valued at £384 million to connect close to 100,000 premises to superfast broadband and launched a legal challenge, which is causing delays.

Connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse revealed that the government would miss its targets to deliver the scheme.

“I accept entirely that there may be people who are priced out of using broadband services," he said.

Highland regional MSP Edward Mountain said: “The people of the Highlands and Islands have every right to be frustrated and disappointed at how this SNP government has broken its promises on delivering superfast broadband by 2021.

“Highlanders should not have to pay excessive internet prices only because the SNP government failed to deliver its R100 programme on time.

“It is also deeply concerning that the SNP government accepts that it might take until 2026 or 2027 to deliver the R100 programme to the north of Scotland. Once again our region is being left behind and is losing out on vital infrastructure that it needs now.

“Quite frankly, the SNP government’s handling of the R100 programme has been a shambles and it is putting the Highland economy at a huge disadvantage.”

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