From 2020 residents in Perth and Kinross, Fife, Stirling and Clackmannanshire will have a legal right to demand high-speed broadband. Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser, has welcomed the move and believes this will be a positive step for rural residents in his region.
The UK Government has rejected a voluntary offer from BT to speed up improvements to 1.1 million homes, opting instead for a regulatory Universal Service Obligation which it believes will offer residents certainty.
Under the plan, broadband providers will face a legal requirement to provide high-speed broadband to anyone requesting it, subject to a cost threshold.
Regulator Ofcom said that 4% of UK premises, or about 1.1 million, could not access broadband speeds of at least 10 Mbps.
Commenting Murdo Fraser MSP said;
“This decision, from the UK Government, will hold internet providers feet to the fire by legally mandating fast broadband for everyone.
“Rural parts of Perth and Kinross, Fife, Stirling and Fife are still struggling with below par broadband speeds and this USO will set in stone what is acceptable.
“A Universal Service Obligation has worked relatively well for postal services and it is only right to see this extended to broadband, as so much of modern life relies on being able to access the internet.
“For years, residents have put up with snail-pace broadband and this legal requirement will hopefully pressure companies to narrow the current rural-urban broadband divide.”