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by Sofia Villegas
06 October 2023
Lib Dems accuse SNP of ‘desperately backpedalling’ after digital connectivity failure

Willie Rennie was the leader of the Scottish Lib Dems until 2021

Lib Dems accuse SNP of ‘desperately backpedalling’ after digital connectivity failure

Lib Dems accuse SNP of ‘desperately backpedalling’ after digital connectivity failure

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie has accused the Scottish Government of “desperately backpedalling and refusing to apologise” for failing to deliver the R100 programme.

In its 2016 manifesto, the SNP committed to provide all premises across Scotland access to superfast broadband by 2021. However, after a freedom of information request in June, the government confirmed thousands of sites were yet to be connected through the programme.

Research by the Lib Dems also revealed that as of last year the scheme had only been delivered to three per cent of the eligible sites.

“A reliable internet connection is essential for starting businesses, securing a good education, and even attending medical appointments in remote and rural communities” Rennie added.

Writing to Rennie, trade and innovation minister Richard Lochhead, said the SNP had met its commitments.

He explained the government’s support such as its “commercial coverage - including the emergence of newer technologies such as low earth orbit (LEO) satellite”, had made “every property” able to “consider options for superfast broadband connection”.

The Lib Dem MSP said the SNP was “hiding behind Elon Musk”, whose company, SpaceX, developed the Starlink LEO satellite network, to “distract from their failure to deliver what they promised.”

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