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Investment in a full fibre network is critical to Highland region's economic recovery from coronavirus, says local authority leader


By Ian Duncan

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Council leader Margaret Davidson.
Council leader Margaret Davidson.

The leader of the Highland Council has made the case for urgent investment in digital connectivity across the Highlands.

Councillor Margaret Davidson raised the issue when she wrote to Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands and Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland.

"It is simply not acceptable that we are disadvantaged by a digital divide. As we recover from this pandemic, the need for a full fibre network across the Highlands has never been more critical to our future.”

Speaking about the importance of being a digitally connected region, she said: “As we look to recover from this pandemic in the Highlands, a key element of that recovery will be to ensure that digital connectivity is available right across the Highlands.

"This will be a critical enabler for individuals, communities and businesses as they get back on their feet.

"I have been frustrated and disappointed by the slow progress of R100 in the Highlands which has been delayed further by a contractual dispute. I am therefore really keen to discuss with both the Scottish and UK Governments how they can speed up the delivery of a full fibre broadband network for the Highlands.

"The vision behind the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal is to position Inverness and the Highlands as a region of digital opportunity. If that vision is to become a reality, then we need action now. It is simply not acceptable that we are disadvantaged by a digital divide. As we recover from this pandemic, the need for a full fibre network across the Highlands has never been more critical to our future.”

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