SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse is under fire over delays in providing interim vouchers worth £400 to help Scots improve their web access in rural areas.
Locals in Finderne, near Forres in Moray, have set up a remote office – a workplace in a field with cows in – and are demanding Mr Wheelhouse work there for a shift to experience what it’s like for them trying to work and home-school with limited internet access.
Pery Zakeri, development manager of the Finderne Development Trust, said the internet connection is so bad residents would probably be more successful connecting their phone or computer “into a turnip, or maybe a passing cow”.
He said: “Working from a desk in a field in the heart of our rural community will soon let Mr Wheelhouse get a taste of the everyday reality for those trying to run a business or home-school kids in this part of the world.
“We’ve even seen people forced to leave the area because they can’t continue with university studies while living in their family homes because the connectivity is so bad.
“There are days when you’d be more successful getting a usable connection by trying to plug your phone or computer into a turnip, or maybe a passing cow.
“It’s the same story for remote and rural communities across Scotland.
“What we want to show him is that you can have everything you need for a workplace or home office – but in 2021 it’s pretty much worthless without a functioning broadband connection.”
The Scottish Government’s R100 – Reaching 100 per cent programme – aims to deliver 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) to every home and business in Scotland by the end of 2021.
However, the scheme has been hit by a series of delays, and residents claim the Government has fumbled the rollout of interim support vouchers.
The trust claims those £400 vouchers would help families and businesses pay for short-term solutions to help them achieve faster connectivity until R100 is delivered.