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New report claims an independent Scotland could enjoy better connectivity

The Scottish Government has been urged to act now after ministers pledged to set up a commission to improve connectivity for rural communities if the country votes for independence.

A new paper from the Government highlighted problems with broadband, mobile phone and postal services in remote areas as it outlined benefits leaving the UK could bring.

As well as pledging to establish the new commission to look at connectivity issues - including how best to harness the power of renewable energy - Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the extra cash an independent Scotland's agriculture industry would get from Europe could bring a jobs boost. The Scottish Government believes the country would have benefited from an extra 3.5 billion euro (£2.79 billion) if it had been independent when farm funding payments and rural funding were determined in Europe.

In the paper published yesterday, the Government pledged to establish an expert, independent rural connectivity commission to consider how to deliver a better deal for rural communities and businesses. If Scotland left the UK it would gain powers that would allow it to ensure the "maximum availability of mobile telecoms," the paper said.

Mr Kelly, the Labour spokesman for infrastructure, investment and cities, added: "The SNP should be focusing on the logistical issues such as geography and limited infrastructure instead of indulging in wishful thinking."

Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott said: "People in rural areas will take these latest promises with a very substantial pinch of salt."

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