Scottish islands: data overview 2023

This report gives a snapshot of Scotland's island-level data as collated in the new Scottish Islands Data Dashboard and draws out key findings relating to each of the strategic objective topic areas set out in the National Islands Plan.

8 Digital Connectivity

Access to high speed internet in the Scottish islands has improved significantly in recent years.

Scottish Government schemes to improve internet access in the islands have been highly successful. For example, access to fibre broadband in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar increased by 88 percentage points between 2014-2019. Furthermore, the majority of island residents agree that their Wi-Fi connection is reliable and that their internet connection at home is fast enough to do what they want online.

However, geographic 4G coverage remains poor in rural areas. For instance, the network operator Three covers 98% of urban areas but only 56% of rural areas. While islanders may struggle to get adequate signal on some networks, generally islanders know which network has the best coverage in their area so use those networks and avoid the ones that have poor coverage, hence the reliability figure is higher than some networks’ coverage figures.

Graph: Percentage of premises with access to fibre broadband (2019)
Graph showing percentage of premises with access to fibre broadband in different council areas, 2019.

Source: The National Plan for Scotland’s Islands, Scottish Government (2019)



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