Fears R100 broadband scheme will be delayed even further

Douglas Lumsden MSP has voiced fears that the SNP’s flagship R100 broadband programme will be delayed even further as just 15 per cent of North and North East properties have been hooked up to faster internet through the scheme.

At FMQs, The Scottish Conservative North East MSP described the scheme as an “abject failure”.

Mr Lumsden questioned the First Minister on if the project will be delayed again after new figures showed not a single property in areas such as the Banffshire and Buchan Coast and Angus South have benefited from it.

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The R100 scheme was supposed to bring faster internet to 60,000 properties across the North and North East by the end of 2021 but has only delivered to 9,320 so far, with 51,444 still to be connected.

​Mr Lumsden questioned the First Minister on if the project.​Mr Lumsden questioned the First Minister on if the project.
​Mr Lumsden questioned the First Minister on if the project.

In Holyrood, Mr Lumsden asked the First Minister: “The R100 scheme was meant to connect over 114,000 premises, mainly in our rural areas by 2021.

“From a Freedom of information request, we know that only 29% of these premises have been connected and the figures in the North are even worse with only 15% delivered.

“The scheme for North Scotland has slipped to 2028, seven years after its original deadline.

“Does the First Minister accept that this abject failure by his government is leaving our rural communities behind and will the R100 scheme be delayed even further?”

Humza Yousaf responded: “We have a strong track record of delivering successful digital infrastructure.”

Mr Lumsden later said: “Humza Yousaf is in complete denial if he believes the R100 scheme has been a success and I fear he will kick the can even further down the road by delaying its completion past 2028.

“The figures for the number of connected properties from R100 are shambolic and his delusional response will be a slap in the face to the rural communities who are depending on faster broadband.

“The SNP Government is leaving rural communities behind and it’s vital these numbers are quickly improved so remote areas can benefit from better connectivity.”