SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has called on the UK government to match the EU’s commitment to rolling out 5G by 2025 and free public wifi by 2020.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, made the commitment to “fully deploy” 5G across the EU by 2025 and to equip every European village and city with free wireless internet around the main centres of public life by 2020.
Ms McAlpine has written to Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, to ask whether the UK government will be able to match the commitment outside of the EU.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“Connectivity is essential to the future of our economy and is a particular issue in rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway.
“The EU’s ambition to roll out the next generation of mobile internet is a transformative change which Scotland can’t afford to miss out on.
“This is a prime example of the real, practical benefits of EU membership – and the UK Government must outline whether they’re able to match these commitments outside of the EU.
“As we know all too well rural areas such as this region in particular are often failed by market provision and deserve better than a UK government crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
“If the Tories fail to match this upgrade then Brexit Britain will increasingly look like last year’s model.”
Text of letter reads:
You will be aware of the commitment made by Jean-Claude Juncker to fully deploy 5G across the EU by 2025 and to equip every European village and city with free wireless internet around the main centres of public life by 2020.
Connectivity is essential to the future of our economy, particularly in rural areas such as my constituency of the South of Scotland where we too often are failed by market provision. The ambition stated by President Juncker has the potential to be a transformative change and is one which Scotland and the UK cannot afford to miss out on.
I’d be grateful if you could confirm whether the UK Government intends to match the commitments outlined by President Juncker.