A report signed by 121 MPs claims that the Western Isles has the worst broadband in the UK.
But HIE, who are responsible for the roll-out of superfast broadband in the islands, say the report is ‘behind the times’ and doesn’t reflect significant changes in connectivity in recent months.
Nicknamed the ‘Broadbad’ report, the document has been compiled by the British Infrastructure Group.
The Western Isles were ranked number one in areas with the highest percentage of broadband connections under 2mb/s, and highest percentage under 10mb/s.
Stated the report: “This report has shown the problems that the UK broadband network is facing. It has argued that the current situation of large inconsistencies in service and numbers of areas suffering from slow or non-existent connections is untenable.
“The UK economy is reliant on its digital sector and it is currently being held back by underinvestment stemming from the monopoly being run by BT and Openreach that stifles competition and hurts the end users, be they businesses or ordinary consumers. “
In response, a spokesperson for HIE commented: “At the start of 2014 only 4% of premises in our region could order fibre broadband, by the end of this year that figure will have risen to at least 84%.
“The Western Isles is one of the places seeing things change directly as a result of the public investment through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project. It, like most of the Highlands and Islands, would not have been reached by commercial roll-out.
“In the past year we have taken the number of homes and businesses in the Western Isles with access to a fibre network from zero to more than 5,000. By the end of the year we will have reached more than 70% of the islands’ homes.”
The first fibre based broadband went live on Lewis last year.
More than 5,000 premises can already order in places like Back, Barvas, Shawbost, Garrabost, North Tolsta, and Stornoway.
Work has also started at Berneray, Borve, Callanish, Carloway, Leverburgh, Lochmaddy, Tarbert and Scalpay.
“Broadband is changing, and while this first phase won’t reach everyone it is bringing better broadband to the majority of people in our region,” added the HIE spokesperson.
“No one will be forgotten and Digital Scotland partners, including Community Broadband Scotland are already looking at the options to reach even further.”