South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said that the Scottish and UK Government’s must step up efforts to ensure Dumfries and Galloway is not left behind digitally.


The call comes as a Report from Ofcom, regulator for the communications services, shows that 18% of properties in Dumfries and Galloway cannot obtain broadband speeds of over 30 megabits a second. This was well above the Scottish average of 92% of households receiving broadband speeds of 30 megabits a second.


The report also shows that only 53% of rural Scotland can obtain 4G signal coverage from all mobile phone operators. This was compared to 99% of urban Scotland.


Colin Smyth MSP said, “It is no surprise to people living in Dumfries and Galloway that we are behind Scotland’s big cities and towns in terms of broadband speeds and mobile signal. Local people in Dumfries and Galloway often go to use their mobile and find that they have no signal on their network. This holds back local businesses and our wider economy”.


“It is essential that the Scottish Government bring forward a detailed strategy on their much talked about R100 programme to ensure it is delivered in full and on time. The people of Dumfries and Galloway need to have clear expectations as previous digital schemes have only increased the digital inequality between rural and urban Scotland”.


“Both the Scottish and UK Government’s must announce funding for the Borderlands Growth Deal that includes a number of initiatives to improve digital connections locally and provide a real boost for local communities, businesses and the economies.”