Concerns over wait for superfast broadband in north east Fife

Concerns have been voiced about Scottish Government plans to deliver superfast broadband to every house and business.

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie claims the Scottish Government has ‘abandoned’ its pledge to deliver it by 2021, while remote parts of the area are still waiting while struggling with slow speeds.

Businesses and residents in parts of north east Fife have expressed frustration in the past about slow broadband speeds.

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And now Mr Rennie says the latest update on the R100 programme published by the Scottish Government excludes any mention of the earlier 2021 target for completion.

“The Scottish Government have given us a vague update on their progress with superfast broadband, but everyone is supposed to have superfast broadband by 2021.

“The promised goal is becoming increasingly unlikely as the Scottish Government have admitted that the contract for the R100 (reaching 100 per cent) programme is still yet to be awarded. There’s been no further detail on when the bid will be secured.

“The contract for the R100 programme was due to be tendered over a year ago.

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“Meanwhile, residents in Tayport have been quoted over £20k for fast broadband, and many others in north east Fife remain in the dark about how and when they will get access to high speed broadband.

“For people in rural areas of north east Fife, who are missing out on superfast broadband, this is hugely frustrating. Businesses rely on connectivity, as well as useful everyday leisure use, and raised hopes have continued to be met with further delays.”

Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are determined that the £600 million procurement for the Reaching 100 percent (R100) programme delivers the best possible value and benefit for Scotland.

“We have therefore designed a procurement process to achieve this.

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“We have provided the bidders with the extension they sought, giving them more time to remodel their solutions.

“Our actions will see the procurement timeline extended, with the appointment of a preferred bidder or bidders anticipated by the end of September 2019 and contracts signed by the end of the year.

“We have always acknowledged that 2021 would be challenging but given the scale and complexity of the procurement, we will not sacrifice our aim of securing the best result for Scotland.”