DMA welcomes Scottish Affairs Select Committee report on Connectivity

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DMA welcomes Scottish Affairs Select Committee report on Digital Connectivity in Scotland


As if all politicians had read my Holyrood update on Friday (which bemoaned the lack of action on broadband connectivity), today, the government and the Scottish Affairs Select Committee have announced their analysis and plans to improve telecoms networks throughout the UK.

The Scottish Affairs Committee report outlines the well-recognised difficulty of giving network connectivity to remote areas of Scotland – some of which are island communities hundreds of miles off coast with wholly separate infrastructure to the mainland.

Nonetheless, the report issues new calls for greater telecoms connectivity and faster broadband throughout the whole of Scotland as well as suggesting ways by which consumer rights can be strengthened. The latter might be done by either by offering competitor rates through greater competition or making compensation available for poor service by the only operator available.

This issue has been much of a political football over the past decade. Both the Scottish government and UK government have claimed the other has responsibility for fixing the issue. Indeed, the report recognises the “differences in approach” of the Scottish and UK governments. Nonetheless, they endeavour to work with each other where able. You can read our press release welcoming the UK government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review here.

Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Pete Wishart MP commented:

"Digital connectivity is an essential part of modern life and an indispensable tool for stimulating economic growth. Throughout the course of our inquiry, witnesses highlighted the value of reliable, fast broadband and mobile coverage and many members of the public and community groups got in touch to raises the problems they had getting online.

Scotland's challenging geography and remote communities make it one of the most difficult places to deliver broadband and mobile coverage in Europe, and while good progress has been made there is still more to do. Our report makes recommendations about the way forward and emphasises the importance of both Governments working together to make this happen."

This issue is particularly pertinent in Scotland where geography is a greater barrier to connectivity. In Holyrood and Westminster, the DMA has consistently pushed to diverge the focus from large metropolitan areas across the country. Along with the UK government’s plans, this development is a vital step for helping counterbalance the enormous advantage Scotland’s bigger cities and other key metropolitan areas have over small cities, towns and rural areas for conducting business.

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