On Friday 28 July the minister for small business, trade and innovation, Richard Lochhead, gave a written response to a question from Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, in which he acknowledged that R100 contract work, scheduled for completion by 2021, won't even begin in the Western Isles until 2025.
From that date, he said, connection would begin for 2,206 properties in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency under the R100 contract, with live connections planned to be available through 2026, 2027 and 2028.
Superfast broadband coverage in the Western Isles has been lifted from just 1.3% in 2015 to the present figure of 80.5%, through preceding connection schemes.
Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said that it emerged in June 2023 that not a single business or residential property in the Western Isles had been connected through the R100 programme.
Some island customers are eligible for the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, but it’s up to people and businesses to pursue that and, as of June 2023, no-one had applied the voucher scheme in the Western Isles.
The Reaching 100% (R100) project promised to deliver high-speed broadband to every part of the country, with isles MSP Alasdair Allan saying in 2017: “Uniquely in the UK, the Scottish Government has given a commitment that 100% of properties across Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by 2021.”