Feeds

Rubbish broadband drives Scottish people out of the Highlands

More connectivity needed to stop flight of 'digital refugees', MSPs told

Business security measures using SSL

It's not the midges, weather or crappy nightlife to blame for driving people out of the rural Highlands – it's dodgy broadband speeds, Scottish politicians have been told.

At a meeting of the devolved Scottish Parliament's rural affairs committee, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) were told that sluggish internet connectivity was creating "digital refugees", according to The Scotsman.

John Swinney, the Scottish finance minister, wants to see 95 per cent of Scottish homes and businesses given access to superfast broadband by 2018.

“The Scottish Government is very keen to step in with Scottish resources to try and ensure that we do all we can to connect our more remote and rural communities to the 21st century,” said Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs secretary.

“There is now evidence of people leaving rural communities to live in urban areas, so there is rural depopulation due to a lack of connectivity.

“While you have traditional conversations about people leaving rural communities due to lack of access to higher education, affordable housing or employment, now there is an added factor where there is not good connectivity that can also lead to rural depopulation.

“Some research I have seen in the last year or so has started to show some evidence of that, and that should concern us all.”

The Scottish Government's deputy director for digital strategy and programmes, Colin Cook, said he was looking to scrape together enough dosh to give rural people the broadband they need.

He said: “Our contractors BT have expressed confidence that they will hit the [95 per cent] target, based on their experience in Cornwall and elsewhere.

“I think we have got the team in place who have delivered the contract on time to date.

“Having said that, there will be regions of the country and local authority areas that will be beneath that target on current projections, and that is why we continue to lobby and argue for more money. The biggest issue remains across the Highlands and Islands.”

The Highlands of Scotland are undeniably beautiful, but also freezing cold, windswept and isolated. However, according to government stats, unemployment – at 7.4 per cent – is actually below the British national average of 7.7 per cent.

It is set to become the "Saudi Arabia" of wind energy, according to a website called NewsNet Scotland, which, in this hack's humble opinion, is a bit of a Scottish Nationalist Party mouthpiece.

Presumably all those wind workers will want to watch EastEnders on iPlayer when they finish work, making the broadband rollout all the more vital. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.