Rural broadband 'would be better in independent Scotland' header image

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has claimed rural broadband will be improved if the nation votes yes in the upcoming referendum on independence.

On September 18th, Scots will take to the polls to decide if they should break away from the UK and the SNP's Michael Russell believes rural connectivity would be boosted if they do so.

Speaking during a campaign visit to Ullapool, he said improving broadband is one of the ways rural communities would benefit from an independent Scotland. The politician also revealed the SNP plans to introduce fairer parcel and delivery charges, ensure fairer fuel and energy prices and improve transport links in the countryside. 

"Rural communities across the country make an extraordinary contribution to our economy and our national life - but for too long rural Scotland has been held back by a distant Westminster establishment obsessed with London and the south east of England," Mr Russell stated.

"With the full powers of independence we can take real action to help our rural communities achieve their potential," he added.

According to the SNP, one in five Scottish people live in a rural community and these areas contributed in excess of £32 billion to the nation's economy in 2011.

Mr Russell claimed a yes vote would ensure these communities receive a fairer deal from the government. 

This is not the first time the SNP has spoken out about rural broadband, as in July it was revealed the party will set up a commission to look into how connectivity can be improved should the nation vote for independence.

Prior to this, Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil claimed the current UK government is "failing" when it comes to broadband. He said the country is some way behind the standards set in other nations and accused the Department of Culture Media and Sport of appearing "clueless and disinterested" when it comes to the Highlands. 

Broadband is a particular problem in the Highlands and Islands region, with some of the slowest services in the UK located there.