Wednesday, 23 September 2009


News Release - 23 September 2009

For immediate use

Rob Gibson, Highlands & Islands SNP MSP, today welcomed the Scottish Government announcement that a number of rural broadband exchanges are to be upgraded.

Commenting on the Scottish Government' s announcement (below) Mr Gibson said,

"This news has to be welcomed. Any improvement to the broadband connection to the Highlands will benefit the many individuals and businesses who rely on the internet for communication and work. Late last year I conducted a major survey on broadband with over 9000 households in the North Highlands and Orkney - the issue of capacity and connection speeds was of significant concern then and that is still the case today.

"I presented the consultation findings today to John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth and I will continue to keep constituents' views at the fore over the coming weeks.


For further information:


Scottish Government press release announcing upgrades:

News Release

September 23, 2009


Telephone exchanges in rural areas of Scotland are to be upgraded, providing increased access to broadband, John Swinney said today.

The Finance Secretary was speaking after talks with BT aimed at securing increased broadband capacity in some remote areas where access is not possible.

Mr Swinney said:

"While Scotland has high levels of broadband availability, the Scottish Government and BT recognise the frustration felt in some rural communities where people are unable to obtain a service.

"After exploring the many challenges with BT, we are pleased that a way forward has been found allowing an exchange upgrade programme to take place. This will enable more residents and businesses to benefit from a broadband service which people in most areas of Scotland already enjoy."

The exchanges to be upgraded are expected to be agreed in the coming weeks, following further discussions between the Scottish Government and BT. Exchanges operating at or approaching capacity will be given early consideration.

It follows the completion earlier this year of a separate Scottish Government project to extend affordable broadband services, which 2,100 businesses and households are now benefiting from.


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