SCOTS are getting a raw deal over broadband speeds – with six of the 17 UK local authority areas that are currently failing to get the ‘bare minimum’ 10mb per second being in Scotland, according to a new study.
Which? said their study shows “the urgency of improving broadband services across many parts of Scotland” – and the need to increase awareness of faster speeds, where they are available.
Orkney had the slowest typical broadband speeds in the UK with just 3mbps.
The other five Scottish areas which included in the worst 15 areas of the UK for speeds were Shetland (6.7mbps), Argyll and Bute (7mbps), Moray (7.1mbps), Highland (7.7mbps) and the Scottish Borders (9.3mbps).
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The consumer group said that broadband users in some of these areas might find it hard to carry out online banking or to use streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer due to slow internet.
The UK Government pledged to ensure a bare minimum connection speed of 10mbps across the country by 2020.
The regulatory Ofcom set the deadline as part of a broadband universal obligation (USO) in March, last year. Also lagging behind were the Highlands (8.9mbps), Borders (9.3mbps), Aberdeenshire (10.1mbps), Perth and Kinross (10.1mbps) and Na h-Eilean Siar (11.5mbps).
At the other end of the scale, the analysis of typical broadband speeds found that the fastest local authority in Scotland and third fastest in the UK for broadband speeds was West Dunbartonshire, with an average 29.6mpbs.
It means that in what Which? called the broadband speeds lottery, downloading a film in the Orkney Islands will take around seven times longer than it would in West Dunbartonshire.
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In December, 2017, the Scottish Government confirmed plans to spend £600 million in the ‘R100’ programme which aims to make a superfast broadband (speeds greater than 30mbps) capable network available to 100 per cent of Scotland by the end of 2021.
The Which? report analysing speeds in the year to September 30, 2018, reveals that none of the median speeds in Scotland analysed are yet at superfast level.
Alex Neill, Which? home products and services managing director said: “It’s incredibly frustrating that so many Scots are still struggling to get a good broadband connection when so many of us rely heavily on the internet to carry out important everyday tasks.
“The Scottish Government must now press ahead with plans to provide 100% of the homes in Scotland with a decent broadband connection and make sure that no one is at a disadvantage because of where they live.”
Other areas in Scotland benefiting from a faster connection included Inverclyde (26.9Mbps), Dundee City (23.1Mbps), North Lanarkshire (22Mbps) and East Renfrewshire (21.4Mbps).
Paul Wheelhouse, minister for energy, connectivity and the islands said: “This report highlights what we know – that it is more challenging to deliver and upgrade broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Our Reaching 100% (R100) programme is a plan to extend superfast broadband access to every home and business in the country in Scotland, and we have focussed procurement for R100 in rural areas, where it is needed most.
“A total of 93% of homes and businesses across Scotland already have access to superfast broadband, and we are investing £600 million to go further. R100 is the only programme of its kind in the UK and will deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network that will make rural Scotland one of the best connected places anywhere in Europe, underpinning future economic growth.”