According to the Federation of Small Businesses the great digital divide between Scotland and other sections of the UK could open if the UK government does not improve the broadband available to employers and residents. In order to increase broadband access, reliability and speed the organization is asking for the political parties of Scotland to work together with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
Research conducted by the Scottish government was used to support the body’s demands saying that more than 45% of those that use broadband believe that over the next two to three years they will have to increase the bandwidth. Companies that believe they are going to see substantial growth are twice as likely to sense being held back by the internet connection, than those that only are predicting moderate growth.
In rural areas of Scotland the situation could be even more significant as an Ofcom study highlighted that super-fast broadband access the lowest in remote areas and 3G coverage is also less. Only 17% of the people in these areas own a 3G phone compared to those in towns and cities north of the border where the percentages increases to 27%.
In the digital age, Scotland cannot be left behind, says the FSB Scottish policy convener Andy Wilcox. In Scotland the availability of next generation broadband access is of upmost priority to everyone including charities, schools, universities, consumers, and both public and private sector organizations.
Mr. Wilcox said that the next Scottish government needs to work with Scotland Office and Scotland local authorities to help deliver on this since we cannot start pointing fingers while groups such as businesses, communities and families are not able to hook up to the 21st century’s newest technology.