Orkney’s Community Planning Partnership is to push Scottish and Westminster Governments for faster progress on the roll out of improvements to broadband coverage and speeds for Orkney’s most remote areas.
The Orkney Partnership met recently with representatives from the Scottish Government’s R100 project, which aims to deliver superfast broadband availability to 100% of Scottish premises by the end of 2021.
Whilst welcoming the principle of the project, the Partnership agreed that urgent steps are needed to prevent the digital divide widening still further for people living in Orkney’s more remote communities.
Orkney Islands Council Leader James Stockan, who represents OIC on the Partnership and chairs the group, said: “We don’t wish to undermine the long term aspiration of the R100 project – but long term is the key phrase here – and residents in the isles and other remote communities need a solution now, not years down the line.
“We’re going to be sending a strong message to both Scottish and Westminster Governments that our most remote and rural areas simply can’t keep waiting, as the gap widens and they become more and more disadvantaged by the slow progress on this.”
In the interim, homes and businesses that are unable to access a broadband service with a download speed of at least 2Mbps may qualify for a subsidy towards the set-up costs for satellite or wireless broadband.