Fifers struggling to work from home with poor broadband speeds

People across Fife are struggling to work from home as they cannot access full-fibre broadband, figures reveal.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 3:20 pm
Home worker.

Around four-fifths of houses in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath are affected, with wildly varying speeds across other parts of the Kingdom.

The figures come as more people face a further prolonged period working from home where good connectivity is critical to being able to do their jobs.

A group of MPs has now warned the Government's pledge of gigabit broadband for 85% of the UK by 2025 will not be met, leaving those in rural areas with slow connectivity for years to come.

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Figures from the House of Commons library showed just 4% of households in Glenrothes could receive speeds of one gigabit per second in September 2020.

Just 21% of households in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath got speeds of one gigabit per second, with the average download speed across Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath just 70.3 Megabits per second.

The Public Accounts Committee criticised the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for not being prepared to admit sooner it would not meet a Conservative election pledge of gigabit broadband connectivity across the entire country by 2025.

It was not until November that the Government revealed it was rowing back on the target, aiming for at least 85% instead.

That original target was “unachievable”, MPs said in their Improving Broadband report, and they are concerned the reduced target will still be challenging to meet.

Meg Hillier, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “With the grim announcement that the country and economy will be locked down for months, the Government’s promises on digital connectivity are more important than ever.

“But due to a litany of planning and implementation failures at DCMS, those promises are slipping farther and farther out of reach – even worse news for the ‘rural excluded’ who face years trying to recover with substandard internet connectivity."

The DCMS said: "Gigabit capable broadband is being rolled out rapidly – from one in ten households in 2019 to one in three households today.

"We expect that half of all households will have access to gigabit speeds by the end of this year.”

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