It is shameful that parts of the Western Isles still have no broadband coverage at
all. Three years ago, I spent a week travelling in the Australian outback camping
near tiny townships miles from anywhere – yet I could still get broadband. The download
speed was reasonable and I could keep in regular contact with family and friends.
To say I was completely amazed is an understatement – having been used to no broadband,
and so no email, when camping in various parts of the Western Isles. That situation
is unchanged today.
Like residents in other parts of the islands, Grimsay residents are rightly exasperated
with no progress in getting the most basic broadband. Good for them and Labour’s
Rhoda Grant MSP to invite Fergus Ewing to see for himself the overwhelming problems
this creates. Shameful that Mr Ewing has refused to come. Is it that the Western
Isles are too far away from the favoured Central Belt? Mr Ewing’s job title shows
the vital importance of connectivity with rural economy. No connectivity, no economic
growth - and little wonder that depopulation continues and empty family homes are
increasingly becoming holiday homes.
Broadband coverage for the whole of the Western Isles is vital. The Scottish Government
needs to wake up, now, to the fact that our islands will never flourish without this
Isle of Lewis
Letter: Better broadband in the Australian outback
5 July 2017
Councillor Gordon Murray disapproves of the Grimsay residents wanting to make the
case for provision of basic broadband to Scottish Parliament’s Fergus Ewing, the
SNP’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity. Councillor Murray
wrongly asserts connectivity is a Westminster issue only. As such he maintains nothing
will be done. Perhaps that is the way for SNP MPs but I can assure councillor Murray
that a Labour MP for our islands would work hard in Westminster, and on the islands,
to achieve basic broadband at the very least.