Bute MP’s disappointment at broadband delay

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid has voiced his disappointment at news that a contract to roll out next generation broadband services throughout the Highlands and Islands will not be signed until the new year.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise announced this week that it was “very close to agreeing the detail” of a multi-million pound contract with BT as part of the Scottish Government’s programme to make ‘next gen’ broadband available across the country by the end of 2015.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HIE, said: “This is the most technologically complex and challenging project we have ever undertaken on behalf of the region, and we are very close to agreeing the detail of this first phase of the rollout.

“With estimates that fewer than a quarter of premises in our area would see commercial roll out by 2014, compared to two thirds of the UK, we knew that if our communities and businesses were to benefit we would have to work together to find a way to do it.

Criticising the latest delay, Mr Reid said: “Delivering broadband throughout the Highlands and Islands is very important and it’s disappointing that signing this contract has been delayed yet again.

“It was supposed to have been completed and signed in August, then it was supposed to be before the end of the year.

“I will keep up the pressure on Highlands and Islands Enterprise to deliver this important broadband project as soon as possible.”