Broad anger at latest internet speed figures

Green councillor Ian Baxter next to broadband cabinet 56 in Hopefield, Bonnyrigg
Green councillor Ian Baxter next to broadband cabinet 56 in Hopefield, Bonnyrigg

A report from Audit Scotland has revealed that Midlothian has amongst the slowest broadband speeds in the country.

The average speed is below 20 Mb/s, giving the county the ninth slowest average speed out of the 32 local authorities.

And around eight per cent of people in Midlothian do not have access to Broadband in excess of 10Mb/s.

Bonnyrigg councillor Ian Baxter (Greens) is angry at these figures.

He said: “That programme has slipped badly behind.

‘‘BT doesn’t tell anyone what’s going on and often doesn’t seem to know itself, and the Scottish Government has ignored Midlothian to concentrate on more rural parts of Scotland.

“For one of the fastest growing parts of Scotland to have amongst the slowest internet speeds must surely hit Midlothian’s economic prospects.”

Lothian List MSP Rachael Hamilton (Conservatives) added: “Just like running water, superfast broadband has become a necessity in everyday life – essential to our business community to help boost productivity, help innovation and encourage investment.

“There is much work to do to get broadband up to scratch in Midlothian.

“Residents are crying out for faster broadband, pupils need it for homework and tourists will think twice before booking a holiday if they can’t get connected.”

The Scottish Government’s vision for Scotland is to have a world-class digital infrastructure by 2020. Part of this is to have more premises have access to superfast Broadband.

The contractor, BT, expects by 2020 that 77 per cent of premises will have broadband at 24 Mb/s, if not more.

Liz Mallinson, fibre broadband director for BT Scotland, said: “BT is investing £126m in the £410m Digital Scotland rollout, on top of our commercial rollout, and we were pleased that Audit Scotland’s progress report shows this huge civil engineering project is on track.

“Engineers are meeting our contractual obligation to reach the most people possible with the funds available, building out from existing fibre network.

“The Digital Scotland programme has now reached some very small and remote communities across the country and passes 3,000 premises in Midlothian, in places like Carrington, Easthouses and Gorebridge, building on a high level of commercial coverage. There’s more to do and we remain fully committed to supporting Scotland’s digital ambition.”