Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Much needed boost for broadband announced

Today the Scottish Government announced an upgrade of 71 telephone exchanges to improve online services. This is a timely announcement and one I will welcome in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament when 'Broadband for Rural Scotland' is debated this evening.

Due to high broadband take-up, a number of telephone exchanges in rural areas of Scotland have not been able to accommodate new users because of capacity constraints and today's announcement will go a long way in relieving that strain.

I am extremely pleased to see a number of small settlements throughout the Highlands, in particular Durness, the Craigs, Gillock, Lyth, Tongue, Berriedale, Kinbrace, Rosehall, Scourie, Westerdale, Achiltibuie and North Erradale, as well as many throughout the Islands, have been identified for upgrade.

At the beginning of this year I issued an report on the findings of a broadband consultation I conducted throughout my constituency. The numbers of hard pressed families and businesses operating with inadequate speeds and provisions, or even no internet at all, is simply insufferable in today's modern age.

Upgrades in these acutely identified areas will go some way in improving the situation, though the job of increasing capacity, reach and speed in Scotland's rural areas is still far from finished and requires BT to offer equal access as enjoyed by city dwellers.
Full details of the 71 exchanges to be upgraded follows:

Argyll and the Islands - Coll, Colonsay, Gigha, Jura, Pirnmill, Kilchattan Bay, Kilfinan, Machrie, Pennyghael, Sliddery, Whitehouse

Ayrshire - Craigie, Straiton

Caithness and Sutherland - The Craigs, Durness, Gillock, Lyth, Tongue, Berriedale, Kinbrace, Rosehall, Scourie, Westerdale

Dumfries and Galloway - Bargrennan, Durisdeer, Marrburn

Forth Valley - Inversnaid, Trossachs

Inverness and East Highland - Advie, Glenferness, Laggan, Scatwell

Lanarkshire - Elvanfoot

Lochaber - Ardgour, Glenborrodale

Lothian - Garvald

Moray - Drummuir, Mulben

Orkney - Birsay, Hoy, Papa Westray

Renfrewshire - Loganswell

Scottish Borders - Grantshouse, Longformacus, Abbey St Bathans, Borthwickbrae, Lempitlaw, Stobo

Shetland - Burravoe, Fetlar, Gutcher, Fair Isle, Out Skerries

Skye and Wester Ross - Achiltibuie, Duntulm, Kinlochewe, Staffin, Uig, Killilan, Loch Scavaig, North Erradale, Tarskavaig

Tayside - Strathardle, Amulree, Bridge of Balgie, Bridge of Gaur, Butterstone, Trochry, Tummelbridge, Fern and Menmuir

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