Letters, January 14 2022

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Young people, please use free buses

Young people in Argyll and Bute can now apply for a new card which will allow anyone 21 and under to be able to travel on the bus for free.

The scheme, which is being implemented by the Scottish Greens in government, commences at the end of the month.

I’d encourage young people who rely on buses for essential travel in Argyll and Bute or their parents to apply for new entitlement cards as soon as possible.

As Covid travel restrictions start to lift, more young people will be able to get onboard and enjoy the opportunity of free travel.

As we emerge from the pandemic, bus services will be a crucial part of the green recovery while tackling the climate emergency, and this travel card will open up opportunities for young people and their families.

I’m delighted this Green policy has gone from the drawing board to reality and, despite the difficulties of Covid, essential travellers such as key workers should feel the benefit from day one.

Ariane Burgess, Scottish Greens MSP for the Highlands and Islands.

Prepared for a digital future

With record demand on our broadband and mobile networks – and periods of extreme Scottish weather to contend with – I’d like to thank all our front-line colleagues for keeping our customers and communities connected during a challenging year.

The pandemic has accelerated Scotland’s shift online. We’ve learned new terms like ‘Zoom calls’ and ‘vaccine passports’.

With the average home predicted to have 50 connected devices by 2023, families need better and faster connections, no matter where they live.

To future-proof our networks, BT Group confirmed plans to invest around £15 billion so that Openreach can extend its ultrafast, full-fibre broadband network to 25 million UK homes and businesses by 2026.

More than 438,000 Scottish premises can already order full-fibre, with thousands enjoying ultra-reliable, ultrafast speeds.

Our mobile network, EE, has already reached around 40 per cent of the UK’s population with 5G, with plans to offer the service in every corner of the UK by 2028.

And on 4G, we’ll expand our network to 600 more rural Scottish communities by 2025.

This ultrafast connectivity is being expanded on a daily basis. We’re building like fury, and we know there’s more to do.

To make sure this digital future benefits as many people as possible, we published a ‘manifesto’ for the next decade, setting out how we’ll support responsible technology, become more inclusive and do more on climate action, including electrifying our vehicle fleet.

Despite these challenging times, we’re working hard to bring next-generation networks and digital services to millions more in the coming years.

Jane Wood, director, BT Group Scotland.