Broadband focus of MP's maiden speech

Mr Duguid argued that poor digital infrastructure in the area is hampering growth and slowing efforts to regenerate coastal towns and villages.
Mr Duguid argued that poor digital infrastructure in the area is hampering growth and slowing efforts to regenerate coastal towns and villages.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has used his maiden speech to ask why an area so rich with industry and entrepreneurs is saddled with “one of the slowest broadband speeds in the country”.

The Scottish Conservative MP said that his north-east constituency is home to two of the largest fishing ports in Europe, a thriving farming sector and major employers in the oil and gas industry.

However, Mr Duguid argued that poor digital infrastructure in the area is hampering growth and slowing efforts to regenerate coastal towns and villages.

Residents across Banff and Buchan have contacted Mr Duguid since his election to complain about difficulties with slow speeds, particularly in rural areas.

In his speech in a debate on Universal Credit today, Mr Duguid said: “I find it incredible that a constituency that is home to so many entrepreneurs and small to medium businesses – a constituency that contributes so greatly to the food and drink and energy sectors – has one of slowest average broadband speeds in the country.

“The average download speed of 6Mbps in Banff and Buchan can only be dreamed of by many of my constituents, who struggle to get speeds of 1 or 2 Mbps – if they get any at all!

“This lack of connectivity hampers business growth and discourages people from coming to live in the area. I have made it one of my top priorities to pressure governments on both sides of the Scottish border to work towards delivering an acceptable minimum broadband performance across rural Banff and Buchan – not just the towns.

“We live in an age where more and more of our services are provided online. However, while these online services become more and more the norm – including the application for Universal Credit – many people still do not have adequate access to broadband internet.

“This is simply not acceptable.

“A decent broadband service is rapidly becoming an essential service for every business, school, hospital and household – where-ever they may be located.”