MSPs vow to connect rural areas

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SENIOR MSPs have committed to improving broadband and digital television in rural areas across the Lothians.

They said, as part of the country’s digital revolution, communities outwith the urban hub would not be forgotten.

Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil promised residents in areas such as Kirkliston, South Queensferry, Newbridge and Ratho that they too would benefit from improved services in coming years.

Following a meeting with fellow politicians at Holyrood, he said: “The Scottish Government’s ambition is to make next-generation broadband available to all by 2020, with significant progress being made by 2015.

“We will agree the key components of this plan by the end of 2011 and by March 2012, produce a detailed roll-out plan with funding proposals.”

His pledge has been backed by Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir, who serves many of the local areas affected.

He added: “When 21st century superfast broadband is available the area will become commercially viable. Currently it’s at a disadvantage compared with other parts of Edinburgh.”