There has been a call for speedy action after the revelation Aberdeenshire is among the worst areas for broadband speeds in the country.
According to Audit Scotland’s Superfast Broadband for Scotland report, people in Aberdeenshire have, on average, the third-lowest internet speeds in the nation, at around 19 megabits per second (mbps).
The report also reveals the Scottish Government has achieved its initial target to provide fibre broadband access to 95% of premises in Scotland.
Its Reaching 100% programme says every home and business will have access to superfast broadband (speeds of 30 mbps or more) by the end of 2021, but Audit Scotland said this would be “more difficult” to achieve.
North-east Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles said: “With the clock ticking, the Scottish Government has finally earmarked £600 million for the programme for broadband development. Some of that funding is planned for the north-east but so far progress has been glacial.
“After listening to ministers patting themselves on the back for six years, I want to see more action from the Scottish Government to target the areas worst affected.”
The report also reveals around 13% of homes in the Aberdeenshire area are unable to receive speeds of even 10mpbs.
In Aberdeen, the average internet speed is 24mbps with only around 1% of homes in the city unable to received speeds of 10mbps.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse said the Scottish Government’s investment has “transformed” the availability of broadband in rural Scotland.
He added: “Our 100% commitment is unmatched anywhere else in the UK.
“The report recognises it won’t be easy to deliver the commitment, but we have backed our commitment with a record £600m (96.5% funding by Scottish Government) in initial funding for procurement of the Reaching 100% programme and are currently in dialogue with three suppliers.
“We expect to award the contracts in 2019 and remain confident that delivery of these, alongside other interventions, will allow the target to be met.”