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Scottish independence 'would boost rural broadband'

Tuesday, September 2nd 2014 by Hannah Langston
Rural broadband 'would be supported by Scottish independence'

The SNP says a yes vote will result in improved rural connectivity.

Voting yes for Scottish independence would deliver a boost for rural broadband access, according to the SNP.

On a visit to the Highlands town of Ullapool, the SNP's Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Michael Russell outlined plans to improve connectivity outside of major urban centres by taking advantage of the powers that independence would offer.

Almost one in five Scottish residents lives in rural communities, while these areas contributed more than £32 billion to the country's economy in 2011.

Claiming Westminster repeatedly let down rural Scotland, the SNP has drawn up five means of bolstering connectivity in remote locations: improving mobile and broadband coverage; guaranteeing fairer fuel and energy prices; delivering fairer delivery and parcel charges; upgrading transport links; and achieving the "true potential" of the country's renewable resources.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Russell said the UK government has held back rural Scotland for too long.

"With the full powers of independence we can take real action to help our rural communities achieve their potential – and improving the technological and transport connectivity of communities across Scotland will be a major boost to investment and jobs in rural areas," he added.

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