Meeting with Regulator for Broadband Provision

25 April 2009

Peter Peacock, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP met with OFCOM Scotland to ensure that remote and rural areas of the country’s treated fairly when it comes to broadband.

Mr Peacock met with OFCOM Director for Scotland Vicki Nash this week to stress the need for the Highlands and Islands areas to have improved access to services and the regulator expressed a willingness to be involved in any further discussions organised on the issue.

Mr Peacock said: "I had a very constructive discussion with the OFCOM Director for Scotland and impressed upon her the vital importance of ensuring that any policy on a universal service obligation included policies that would deliver full higher speed broadband coverage for the whole of the Highlands and Islands.

"I explained the frustrations many people experience with current broadband access and reliability in the Western isles and more widely and a need to address the widening gap in service provision between the area and the rest of Scotland, which would be unacceptable if it was allowed to continue.

"I have agreed to try and involve OFCOM in further discussions as I continue to push the case for improved services and I will be writing formally to her and making a submission to a current consultation on access and inclusion."

The meeting came as MEP Catherine Stihler tabled two questions to the European Parliament about the provision of broadband for remote and rural areas.

Ms Stihler said: "Equal access to broadband is a clear objective for the European Union and it is important to ensure that everyone is able to make use of technology.

"I have tabled questions to the European Commission and Council to help push for people living in remote and island communities will get the support they need to ensure they get access to broadband."


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