SNP, Matt Hancock, Broadband, Scotland, UK government, Ofcom, Fergus Ewing, scottish politics,

Matt Hancock BLASTS SNP for ‘ABYSMAL’ delay to bring superfast broadband despite £21m fund

SNP, Matt Hancock, Broadband, Scotland, UK government, Ofcom, Fergus Ewing, scottish politics, Getty

Matt Hancock warned SNP they will miss their high speed broadband target

The UK Culture Secretary wrote an enraged letter addressed to the SNP’s Rural Economy Minister Fergus Ewing, in which he criticised the Scottish Government for the “abysmal” five-year delay to the roll out.

The devolved Parliament has launched its R100 programme for every household and business to have access to speeds of 30megabytes per second by 2012, and accounted a £600 million investment last December.

However, in his letter, the Culture Secretary said: “It appears that the procurement process is still likely to take another year.

“It is a great regret that the SNP will therefore have presided another abysmal five year delay in rolling out super fast broadband.”

The high-speed fibre broadband policy is a prerogative of Westminster, but devolved parliaments and assemblies have to take care of areas where providers such as Virgin and BT do not provide it on a commercial basis.

According to last year Ofcom’s new Connect Nations report, 87 percent of all premises in Scotland could access superfast broadband in May and June in 2017.

This compares with 92 percent coverage in England and 89 percent in Walkes.

In 2010 the UK Government announced a subsidised programme and in 2014 handed over the SNP £21million as part of the second phase of the scheme.

SNP’s Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, has pledged to quit if he fails to deliver on the new £600million R100 project but assured delegates “we’re on the case”.

Even though the UK Culture Secretary welcomed the R100 programme, he highlighted that the UK Government’s subsidy of £121.8million since 2010 for the Scottish broadband “represents more than double the funding per head than the rest of the UK population”.

He added: “However, the reality has not matched the rhetoric, and Scottish households have been left waiting for superfast broadband for half a decade now.”

Mr Ewing last night strongly opposed to Mr Hancock’s claims, which he said have been “widely discredited” and were made in a response to his request for more UK Government funding that Mr Hancock had ignored.

He said: “These claims, made repeatedly by Mr Hancock over the past year, do not stand up to scrutiny and have been widely discredited.

“Despite being reserved to Westminster, the UK Government to provide just three per cent of the funding required for the first phase of our £600million ‘Reaching 100 per cent’ programme.

“I have written to Mr Hancock to ask the UK Government to contribute a more equitable share.

SNP, Matt Hancock, Broadband, Scotland, UK government, Ofcom, Fergus Ewing, scottish politics, Getty

87 per cent of all premised in Scotland could access super fast broadband in May and June in 2017

SNP, Matt Hancock, Broadband, Scotland, UK government, Ofcom, Fergus Ewing, scottish politics, Getty

Fergus Ewing has pledged to quit if he fails to deliver on the new £600m R100 project

“Unfortunately, he has ignored my request and chosen to repeat his inaccurate claims about broadband delivery in Scotland.

“We have pledged to extend superfast access to 100 percent of premises in Scotland by the end of 2021 – a commitment the UK Government has chosen not to match.

“The £600million we announced for the initial phase of that programme is the biggest public investment ever made in a UK broadband project and underpins the first universal superfast programme in the UK.”

Posted on; Express.co.uk>>

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