A MEMBER OF the Scottish parliament is furious after he has discovered that five villages in the Nepal have faster internet connections than some of his constituents.
SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson said that the five villages in the isolated slopes of Nepal have a wireless internet connection and villagers can surf the net till the yaks come home. OK, so they might have a shortage of phone lines up there, but they have broadband while their apparently more high tech cousins in far flung parts of Scotland have barely a dial-up to rub together.
The villain of the piece is of course BT, who Gibson thinks has policy towards the Highlands which has much in common with the Duke of Cumberland's 'starve them out' clearance policy. BT has recently promised that exchanges with trigger levels set for broadband would receive it by next summer but those without would not be upgraded at that time.
Gibson told the Press and Journal that while local businesses were trying to model themselves as the area being the equivalent of the Pacific North West in America, it was next to near impossible if every exchange and person in the area is not guaranteed broadband.
"If Yak farmers in a Nepalese village can be afforded high-speed access to the web why can't someone in Dunbeath, John O Groat's and those served by as many as 200 other exchanges throughout the region?" he seethed to the paper.
He said if the Scottish executive was so keen on repopulating the highlands, current population a few tough Scots, a few cattle and some sheep, then it needed broadband. Apparently cuddles and a few romantic evenings in does not do enough to produce more baby highlanders.