THE Scottish Government is under pressure to force developers to provide proper access to broadband after a study revealed a major new housing estate near Glasgow has worse connectivity than the Falkland Islands.
A UK-wide survey by digital firm Actual Experience found Pauline and Graeme Sands’s home in Rutherford Drive, Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, had a 54.3 per cent score for its broadband connection since June.
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However, in November, its connectivity had dropped to 31.2 per cent, below the Falkland Islands’ 37.7 per cent which, in the middle of the South Atlantic, is one of the worst internet spots in the world.
According to Actual Experience’s scoring, 80 per cent is very good and 70 per cent is adequate. It said most major websites are almost impossible to upload below 60 per cent.
Mrs Sands said that there had been a problem with her house’s connection since the family moved in, in April 2011, and the development where they lived was further built on.
She claimed that not enough cables had been laid to cope with the demand for telephone and broadband, and that the problems had got worse as more homes had been added to the development – with 300 more set to come.
Mr Sands often needs to work from home, while the couple also have two children, aged three and six, who will soon need the internet for schoolwork.
“It is completely ridiculous,” said Mrs Sands. “We often have to leave the computer running over night to download things because it takes so long.
“You just wonder why a development would be given permission without ensuring that there is enough cabling for the internet.
“You wouldn’t not have water, gas or electricity, and the same should apply for the internet and phones.”
She added: “You would have thought in the 21st century, on the edge of Scotland’s biggest city, there would be good internet connections.
“They need to change the law to force developers to put in proper broadband connections.”
Dave Page, chief executive of Actual Experience, which produced the data, said: “The quality of broadband that Pauline and Graeme have been dealing with is atrocious. No-one in the UK should have to deal with a connection worse than the inhabitants of islands 9,000 miles away in the middle of the South Atlantic.”
The issue is one which has been raised in the House of Commons by shadow Labour energy minister Tom Greatrex, who represents the nearby Rutherglen constituency.
He claims the Scottish Government’s decision not to invest properly in broadband means Scotland is lagging behind.
Mr Greatrex said the roll-out of fibre optic broadband is funded by the UK government to the tune of £780 million, while its implementation in Scotland is devolved to the SNP government.
But the Scottish Government claimed that the problem was a lack of funding from Westminster.
A spokesman for SNP infrastructure secretary Keith Brown said: “Mr Greatrex seems more interested in cosying up to the Tory-Lib Dem coalition rather than arguing for more funding for Scotland.
“We are continuing to roll out coverage in the months ahead, and no doubt Mr Greatrex will welcome this.”
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