SNP MEP Secures Digital Dividend For Remote & Rural Scotland

30 June 2008
Alyn Smith MEP for Scotland has secured an amendment in a crucial European Parliamentary report that is evaluating all aspects of digital Europe, from broadband to broadcasting.

In light of the shortcomings in the preliminary European Parliamentary report on digital Europe, Mr Smith sought a significant amendment to the final draft, in which he deplored the uneven access of European citizens to digital services.

Mr Smith stated in the amendment that:

“rural and peripheral regions are especially disadvantaged (in promptness, choice and quality) with regard to the rollout of digital services.

He further urged “Member States and regional authorities to do all in their power to ensure that the digital switchover is conducted quickly and fairly for all their citizens.”

Commenting on the successful vote, Mr Smith said:

“This is a hugely positive step in the right direction, recognising the rights of remote and rural communities to the same quality and standard of services as urban dwellers.

“It is a huge injustice that my constituents in remote and rural Scotland pay the same for services as those living in population centre’s such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, yet don’t receive the same standard of service.

“My amendment seeks to highlight this injustice and begin the process of addressing the digital divide through utilising the digital dividend.

"The ball is now firmly in the court of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers to take stock of this report, and start implementing change where it is needed most."