RURAL communities are still experiencing broadband reliability and download speed issues.

On the plus side, the SNP Government has already exceeded its Programme for Government pledge to deliver fibre broadband to more than 95 per cent of premises in Scotland.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme is being delivered through two projects – the first covering the Highlands and Islands and the second covering the rest of Scotland.

The project covering ‘the Rest of Scotland’ is valued at £264 million and led by the Scottish Government with funding from BT Group, local authorities, the EU via the European Regional Development Fund as well as the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Following the success of the current programme, which saw stronger than expected take-up figures, additional funds of £17.9 million are being reinvested back into the programme so that thousands more homes and businesses will benefit by an extended build throughout 2018.

Jeane Freeman, MSP for Cumnock and Doon Valley, said: “It’s good news that we have already exceeded target, but for many of my constituents in rural areas work still need to be done to improve reliability and increase download speeds.

“The DSSB project is the most ambitious fibre infrastructure programme in the whole of Europe that has already connected 890,000 premises in Scotland and without which, it is estimated only 66 per cent of Scotland would be able to receive fibre broadband.

“We will not rest until that final five per cent of households are connected.”

Constituents who want to find out more or discuss further roll out plans to areas not currently receiving superfast broadband can attend a drop in event in Coylton Church Hall.

Hosted by Ms Freeman, it takes place on Monday, May 14, between 4pm and 6pm, when representatives from DSSB and Openreach will answer queries.