The Scottish Government has finally announced that BT will be awarded contracts for its key broadband programme a year later than previously planned.
R100, or the Reaching 100% programme, is the SNP’s pledge to roll out super-fast broadband to 100% of Scotland’s inhabitants by 2021.
When first announced, the Scottish Government said that contracts for this would be signed in 2018. The timetable for signing contracts was quietly delayed to March 2019 and the Scottish Government has today admitted that contracts wouldn’t be signed until later on in 2019.
The tender process was repeatedly delayed despite the fact that it has now been revealed that BT was the only bidder for most parts of Scotland.
Local MP John Lamont has called for clarity about the new timetable as latest figures show that nearly one in five homes in the Scottish Borders still do not have access to a decent internet connection.
John Lamont MP said: “It is good to finally have some news from the Scottish Government about improvements to broadband.
“People will rightly be asking why it has taken the Scottish Government so long to decide to award BT these contracts, particularly given that they were the only bidder for two thirds of them.
“Yet again the Scottish Government are full of excuses, the latest about funding from the UK Government. The truth is that Scotland has been given more funding per head than any other part of the UK yet thanks to the SNP’s mismanagement we are still lagging behind. To make matters worse, the Scottish Government are still sitting on £21 million which they were given in 2014 to improve broadband.
“Residents and businesses are sick to the back teeth with a lack of connectivity. But there is now no realistic prospect of this programme being delivered by 2021. The SNP need to be honest with people about the new timetable so that people who are stuck with a poor service can decide what they can do.”