Parts of Scotland Have Slowest Internet Speeds in UK
22 January 2019, 07:20 | Updated: 22 January 2019, 07:37
Parts of Scotland receive the worst broadband connection in the UK, according to new research.
A study by consumer group Which? evaluated the broadband speed in local authority areas across Scotland, England and Wales.
Four areas were listed bottom of a list of 32 Scottish local authorities for the standard of broadband connection.
Orkney (at 3Mbps), Shetland (6.7Mbps), Argyll and Bute (7Mbps) and Moray (7.1Mbps) were also recorded as having the slowest internet connections in the UK.
The research by Which? suggests internet users in some of these areas could struggle to carry out online banking or to use streaming services due to slow internet.
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).
The analysis indicated the fastest local authority in Scotland, and the third fastest in the UK, for broadband speed was West Dunbartonshire, with an average 29.6Mpbs.
The findings suggest that downloading a film in Orkney would take around seven times longer than it would in West Dunbartonshire.
Other areas in Scotland which receive a faster connection include Inverclyde (26.9Mbps), Dundee City (23.1Mbps), North Lanarkshire (22Mbps) and East Renfrewshire (21.4Mbps).
The UK Government pledged to ensure a bare minimum connection speed of 10 megabits per second across the country by 2020.
The consumer group's data also suggests that six of the 15 UK local authority areas that are currently failing to reach 10 megabits per second are in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has said it will ensure that all of Scotland has access to superfast broadband (speeds greater than 30Mbps) by 2021 - the "Reaching 100%" (R100) commitment.
Alex Neill, Which? 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."
Scottish Labour's infrastructure, connectivity and transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: "Scotland faces a digital divide with swathes of rural areas unable to access decent broadband.
"As this report exposes, the SNP's roll-out of fibre broadband has failed to deliver, with many rural areas receiving super-slow broadband rather than super-fast.
"It's time we had a clear strategy to properly connect Scotland's rural communities or they risk continuing to be left behind by the failure of both the Scottish and UK governments."
Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael said: "These figures will make difficult reading for both of Scotland's governments as they show the digital divide between the Northern Isles and the central belt is getting wider, not narrower.
"The Scottish Government are about to launch their procurement for the next phase of broadband roll-out and anything other than a focus on Scotland's rural and islands communities would be a betrayal of their commitments to deliver reliable superfast broadband across the country."
Paul Wheelhouse, minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, said: "This report highlights what we already know - that it is more challenging to deliver and upgrade broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
"Our R100 programme is a plan to extend superfast broadband access to every home and business in the country in Scotland, and we have focused 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."