Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, has welcomed the announcement from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan, who announced plans for additional funding on 5G broadband rollout.
The UK-wide competition, which will be worth £30 million is aimed at kickstarting major technological developments in rural regions of the United Kingdom, and bring 5G Broadband to the rural communities in order to seize the opportunities of 5G technology. Currently, superfast broadband coverage in Ochil and South Perthshire is 90.8%, lagging significantly behind a 94.2% coverage throughout Scotland and 96.3% across the whole of the United Kingdom.
A recent report stated that having 5G Broadband rolled out across the whole of Scotland could enable an additional £17 billion to Scotland’s GDP by 2035 and would potentially create around 160,000 jobs.
The powers and funding to deliver broadband in Scotland were temporarily devolved from Westminster to Holyrood. However, the SNP recently announced that they would be missing its own target of rolling out broadband to 100 percent of rural Scotland by 2021. Nonetheless, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that the SNP administration at Holyrood would be funding a competing 5G broadband rollout, a move which Luke Graham MP has criticised.
Commenting Luke Graham MP said:
“Given how important this is going to be to the future of our local and national economies in the coming years and decades, it simply isn’t good enough that we continue to lag behind the rest of the country.
The SNP have had their chance to deliver broadband for Ochil and South Perthshire and have failed. Any further spending announcements from the SNP will only be at the expense of our hospitals, our GP surgeries, our schools, and our transport infrastructure.
The SNP say they are stronger for Scotland, but in every debate and every policy area they choose to use their powers to fight with Westminster, rather than focusing on delivering for our communities.
Announcing a competing “5G strategy” on the day the Secretary of State announces a UK-wide consultation is a prime example of this; if politicians cooperate and connect local with devolved and central government we can secure more investment and better results for our constituents.”