South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Connectivity Spokesperson Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that several towns and villages East and South Ayrshire are set to receive a superfast broadband upgrade but said it is “shocking” that in 2020, five per cent of households in these areas still don’t have access to fast broadband.

Last week, Openreach outlined plans to make ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable Full Fibre broadband available to thousands of homes and businesses in East Ayrshire (Cumnock, Auchinleck, Nertherthird, Holmhead, Dalmellington and Galston) and Girvan in South Ayrshire.

They are among 60 small and rural towns and villages across Scotland set to be upgraded.

Work is expected to get underway within the next 12 to 18 months, although work in some places will continue into 2024.

Colin Smyth said: “This fibre broadband upgrade from Openreach will be very welcome news to many households and businesses in Ayrshire.

“Fast, reliable broadband is an essential part of life, for both leisure and business. We’ve seen this more than ever as thousands of people continue to work from home as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Quite simply, without a good internet connection, people are unable to do their jobs properly.

“However, while this upgrade will benefit thousands, we can’t forget about the five per cent of households in East and South Ayrshire who are still stuck with slow, unreliable internet connections.

“It is completely shocking that in 2020, people are still struggling to get online properly and quickly. It is also another example of the inequalities which exist for those living in rural areas. They are missing out compared to those who live in big towns and cities, and it is time we addressed these issues once and for all.”

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