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Isles Internet Problems
Posted on 11 August 2011

Orkney Parliamentarians Alistair Carmichael MP and Liam McArthur MSP have today pressed senior BT staff on a range of issues relating to broadband internet services in the Northern Isles. 

During the meeting, which involved the Chief Executive of BT Openreach, Mr Carmichael and Mr McArthur stressed the importance of good internet connections to island communities.  They also expressed concerns over the manner in which customer service enquiries from the islands are managed. 

Commenting after the meeting, Mr Carmichael said: 

‘I am pleased that the Chief Executive of BT Openreach has taken the trouble to visit Orkney and meet local customers. I hope that she will take away a better understanding of the needs of our communities and the importance of good broadband provision in meeting them. It is increasingly clear that other parts of the UK are racing ahead of the Highlands and Islands in broadband rollout. 

‘We need BT Openreach and government agencies to work together to ensure that we catch up. I understand that some of the delay may now be coming from the EU and Brussels. We shall be working with George Lyon MEP to push that forward.’ 

Liam McArthur MSP added:

‘The importance of good broadband links to people living and working in Orkney cannot be overstated.  Yet despite significant investment by successive governments, the digital divide is growing ever wider.  

‘The difference in the quality and speed of service available in more urban areas compared to that in rural and island areas poses a serious economic threat to somewhere like Orkney, not least through our ability to attract and retain population.

‘I am pleased that Orkney will play a key part in the UK government’s rural superfast broadband pilot.  However, this must be supported by Scottish Government funding as well to ensure that the benefits are spread as widely as possible throughout Orkney.  Today’s meeting with Openreach and BT Scotland provided an excellent opportunity to discuss their role in these developments. 

Posted on 11 August 2011
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