Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has urged the SNP Government to ensure his rural constituents do not miss out on the digital revolution.
The Conservative MSP who is his party’s spokesperson on the Digital Economy, made the call as he spoke in a debate surrounding the development of digital industries across Scotland.
With the pace of digital technology ever increasing, Mr Carson is concerned that his rural constituents could be left behind when it comes to new opportunities, particularly given the stark warnings from Audit Scotland in relation rolling out broadband to 100% of Scotland by 2021.
In his speech, Finlay Carson MSP said: “ As I am an MSP for a rural constituency, not a day passes when I am not contacted by an individual or an organisation that is pushing for greater urgency in delivering better connectivity in homes and premises. It is clear that far too many businesses are still not properly equipped with digital technology, which negatively affects productivity and innovation.
“I genuinely hope that the reaching 100 per cent programme will deliver for rural Scotland, despite the stark warnings from Audit Scotland. When it comes to the digital revolution, we cannot afford to leave anybody behind.
“We hear the term “digital divide”, which often refers simply to internet connectivity. The divide used to be between those who had broadband and those who had dial-up, and then it was between those who had broadband and those who had superfast broadband, but there is still a divide between those who have connectivity and those who do not.
“As the pace of change is ever increasing, the digital divide could get wider and create divides not only in economic opportunity but even more so in the social, health and wellbeing dimensions. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Speaking afterwards, Finlay Carson MSP said: “There have been positive steps taken when it comes to challenging the digital divide; but there is so much more the SNP Government can do.
“My constituents living in rural communities across Galloway and West Dumfries still face huge frustrations when it comes to digital connectivity, and must be able to access the wealth of opportunities that can potentially come during the digital revolution.
“Ensuring my constituents are better connected is a top priority of mine and I will continue to hold the SNP Government to account on areas where I feel not enough urgent action is being taken, when it comes to rolling out further digital improvements.”