YEARS of frustration with painfully slow computer connections are set to end after communities on the outskirts of the Capital were included in the latest initiative to extend broadband coverage across the country.
People living in Kirkliston, Ratho, Ratho Station, Dalmeny and South Queensferry have long had to put up with poor broadband speeds despite living so close to Edinburgh, which enjoys some of the fastest connections in the UK.
But following an announcement by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a £247 million Scotland-wide investment in high-speed broadband, the villages in west Edinburgh can look forward to the dawn of easier online access.
The good news comes just weeks after the collapse of a UK government initiative which had promised faster broadband for the area.
Edinburgh tour guide Jean Nicolson, 70, from Station Terrace, Kirkliston, said it would be a big relief when proper broadband connections were finally available, but she said people wanted a date they could look forward to.
She said: “They keep saying it’s going to happen, but there’s no indication of when. We need a timeframe. We have put up with this long enough.
“It’s very frustrating, especially when Edinburgh is one of the fastest in the UK. We are part of Edinburgh city, albeit we are ten miles from the centre, and we get this appalling connection and it’s just not good enough. They’re building 600 new homes in the village and another 200 next year, these people will have computers and need to be online, but the system can’t cope as it is.”
Her husband Trevor, also 70, said: “Sometimes you can’t get an internet connection at all because there are too many people trying to use a very limited service.”
Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart, who has campaigned for better broadband, said the news was welcome. He said: “It’s not far from the Gyle to Ratho Station, but it’s the difference between Glasgow and the Outer Hebrides in terms of broadband speed.
“The Gyle has had investment which produces speeds of 80-100Mb per second. Ratho Station relies on an old-fashioned exchange and struggles to get to 1Mb, which is functionally useless if you are trying to watch any kind of streaming.
“It’s immensely frustrating. People can get better coverage by sitting on their doorstep and trying to catch an Airlink bus going past.”