A north-east MSP is calling on the Scottish Government to “fast-track” the roll out of its high speed broadband.
Alexander Burnett, the member for Aberdeenshire West, is pushing for ministers for an update on the R100 scheme.
The £600 million project is aimed at delivering superfast internet coverage across Scotland by 2021.
He said constituents have contacted him to report issues with their broadband connection in areas like Meikle Wartle near Inverurie, with one claiming their speed had dropped by 40% since the lockdown rules were introduced.
Mr Burnett is calling on improvements to introduce full fibre and 5G infrastructure across the north-east.
He said home schooling and the operation of businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the issue.
Mr Burnett said: “It’s clear users across the north-east have experienced drops in their broadband speed during the coronavirus outbreak and it’s vital the Scottish Government makes important improvements to help people in what is a very difficult period at the moment.
“Better connectivity improves the experience of our youngsters and parents for home schooling as well as those who are having to work remotely which is why it’s unacceptable for users to be let down on this issue.
“The Scottish Government’s R100 project is years behind schedule due to the lack of an agreed contract as well as legal disputes and we are now seeing the true effects of this mismanagement from the SNP.
“In lockdown, with increased usage and reliance on the internet, connecting with family and friends is really important but some people are being cut off from doing this because their broadband connection simply isn’t good enough for video calls.
“Streaming TV services is also proving to be problematic for families or households with more than one person because of the poor internet speeds experienced in the north-east.”
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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said:“All regulation and legislative powers regarding telecommunications are reserved to Westminster and are the responsibility of the UK Government.
“Despite that, and recognising the importance of broadband to economic development, the Scottish Government has helped deliver a £400 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme which has brought transformative results across all local authorities, including Aberdeenshire, where nearly 71,000 premises are now able to access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps and above.
“Data from thinkbroadband indicates superfast broadband coverage in Aberdeenshire has increased from 16.6% when DSSB deployment began in January 2014 to more than 80% today – growing at three times the pace than the UK average over that period – and the R100 programme, alongside commercial build, will help complete the area’s coverage.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that digital connectivity is part of the critical national infrastructure of our country and we are grateful for the work that telecoms workers, and especially telecoms engineers, have carried out, in difficult circumstances, to keep our networks operating effectively and to cope with unprecedented levels of demand, as customers work from home.”