Isles MP Angus MacNeil met with the UK Minister for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock MP on Monday to discuss bringing superfast broadband to every home in the islands.
More than 50% of homes and businesses in Na h-Eileanan an an Iar should have high speed broadband by the end of next year, he was told by the Minister, however Mr MacNeil stressed to him the need for solutions for the hardest to reach communities.
Mr MacNeil said: “Of course the aspiration is for 100% of homes and businesses to have a superfast broadband service and that is something which I will continue to push for, however in the meantime it was helpful to get some clarity from the minister on the way forward to make this a reality.
“The UK Government are talking about a Universal Service Obligation for 10mpbs broadband which sounds good, however I have some concerns that the threshold set for this could mean that many households – where the cost of installing that service is higher than the set rate – could incur additional charges. I will be following this matter closely.
“The Minister said he would be asking BT to explain in more detail how they expect to reach more communities and I will be asking for that information to be shared with me.
“Currently, he said, the level of premises in the islands receiving superfast broadband was 30% but will rise to 51% by the end of next year.
“Broadband is a reserved matter and ultimately the extension of service to all parts of the islands is the responsibility of the UK Government so I will continue to pursue this at the highest possible level.”
Any constituent who wishes to contact Mr MacNeil on this matter can call his office on 01851 702272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org