An annual report from industry regulator Ofcom has found that nearly one in five homes in the Scottish Borders remain without access to a superfast broadband connection, despite the Scottish Government claiming that 95% of homes are connected.
The Connected Nations reports, published today, conclude that in the Scottish Borders, 83% of homes and businesses have access to a superfast connection of over 30Mbps. The figure for Scotland as a whole is 92%. In April this year, the Scottish Government claimed to have met its own target of ensuring that 95% of homes and businesses in Scotland have access to a superfast broadband target.
The difference in figures is thought to be down to different ways of measuring access to a superfast line. Ofcom, the independent industry regulator measures actual line speeds, whereas the Scottish Government count everyone who has access to a fibre enabled cabinet as having a superfast connection.
The figures for rural areas are significantly worse. Rural homes in Scotland are the least likely in the UK to have access to superfast broadband. Across Scotland only 65% of rural premises have access to a superfast connection, compared to 76% in England, 77% in Wales and 67% in rural parts of Northern Ireland.
While the majority of homes in both rural and urban areas do have access to a superfast connection, take up of these services remains lower, at 40% across Scotland and only 26% in rural areas. Take up is lower for a variety of reasons, but it is most often down to the cost of a faster service.
John Lamont MP said: “This report from the independent regulator calls into question the Scottish Government’s claim that they have met their own broadband target.
“But they also show the situation in the Scottish Borders is far from acceptable. Almost one in five homes don’t even have access to a superfast connection and the picture in rural areas is even worse.
“Despite being given more money than anywhere else, Scotland continues to lag behind the rest of the UK in terms of superfast broadband. Hard to reach and rural areas are not unique to Scotland, yet a rural home in Scotland is still much less likely than rural parts of England and Wales to have a decent internet connection.
“The Scottish Government is responsible for delivering broadband north of the border and they have some explaining to do as to why homes and businesses are so far behind the rest of the UK.”