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Summary

  1. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE TEXT COVERAGE
  2. The Health Committee took evidence from the health secretary and campaigners on the controversial Penrose Inquiry into blood contaminations
  3. The 50% increase in households requesting financial assistance to pay fuel and heating bills and the productivity of the Laggan and Tormore fields west of Shetland were raised in topical questions
  4. MSPs debated the Transplantation (Authorisation of Removal of Organs etc.) (Scotland) Bill for the first time, before being asked to pass its general principles
  5. The Public Audit Committee led a debate on audits of North Glasgow College in 2012-13 and Coatbridge College in 2013-14 and on an overview of Scotland's Colleges in 2015
  6. Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott led a member's debate on broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural and island communities

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live today

    That's all from Holyrood Live on 9 February 2016.

    We'll be back from 10am with the Public Audit Committee as it takes evidence from Scotland’s new Chief Constable, Phil Gormely. 

    Scottish Parliament
    Image caption: Scottish Parliament
  2. Minister concludes citing improving Ofcom relationship

    Mr Swinney says he is satisfied Community Broadband Scotland has sufficient funding, but if he feels there is more demand he will attach priority to finding new resources.

    The finance secretary turns to mobile coverage and says he is pressing to get the added value of 4G coverage.

    Man on laptop in park
    Image caption: The minister commits to ensuring Community Broadband Scotland has sufficient funding

    He says Mr Russell has been severely critical of BT and he will pass that on in a meeting on Thursday. 

    Mr Swinney says all he could get past the Smith Commission was to say Ofcom had to have a more direct relationship with the Scottish government.

    He praises the chief executive of Ofcom, Sharon White, for her efforts to that end. 

  3. Minister says 'we are now living our lives with broadband as an essential service'

    Deputy First Minister John Swinney says this issue is by far the largest issue with which he corresponds with members of the parliament.

    Mr Swinney says: "As a society we are now living our lives with broadband as an essential service."

    Deputy First Minister John Swinney

    The finance secretary highlights the progress due to the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership.

    The Perthshire North MSP says his focus is on finding the solutions to try to ensure coverage is maximised. 

  4. Stirling has a number of 'naught spots' - SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Bruce Crawford says one of the main problems are those who find themselves in a "naught spot".

    SNP MSP Bruce Crawford

    The Stirling MSP says there are several of these across his constituency. 

    Mr Crawford says people have a right to this in the same way they had a right to telephone connectivity all those years ago. 

  5. Superfast broadband is a 'necessity of life' - Independent MSP

    Independent MSP Jean Urquhart welcomes the investment from the Scottish government to extending broadband to rural areas and island communities that she represents.

    Independent MSP Jean Urquhart
    Image caption: Independent MSP Jean Urquhart

    Ms Urquhart says: "There was a time when superfast broadband was seen as a luxury but now it is seen as a necessity of life."   

  6. Exchange only lines used across Scotland - SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says when he comes to parliament his internet connection leaps by 800. 

    Mr Stevenson says it took him 40 minutes to book a rail ticket the other night.

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson

    The SNP MSP says the issue of exchange only lines is one that occurs across Scotland.

  7. Funding must prioritise the 'digital divide' says Orkney MSP

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says the problems in Shetland are replicated in his constituency of Orkney.

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur

    Mr McArthur says the priority in any future funding must be to address the "digital divide".

    He highlights the divide's impact on the health service, which is impaired in rural areas due to poor coverage. 

  8. Residents feel as though they are being left behind - SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson says the Deputy First Minister is aware of the situation.

    Mr Gibson says everyone should be entitled to internet access.

    SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson

    The SNP MSP says the Scottish government have invested in the superfast broadband roll out and have pledged more investment.

    Residents in rural areas do not believe they can wait any longer, he says. 

    Mr Gibson says residents should not feel as if they are being left behind the rest of Scotland. 

  9. Tory MSP says it is clear problems exist across the whole of Scotland

    Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone says the BBC has told him a 4G service can now be had at the top of Mount Everest, so think what we should achieve here. 

    Mr Johnstone says it is clear problems exist across the whole of Scotland. 

    Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone

    The Tory MSP says mobile phones are now a vital safety tool in rural Scotland.

    He calls on the minister to make the resources available to the whole of Scotland.  

  10. Nothing has transformed island life more than the internet - SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Mike McKenzie says nothing has transformed island life more than the internet. 

    Mr McKenzie says those on islands went from living in a "backwater" to become fully fledged member's of the Scottish community.

    SNP MSP Mike McKenzie

    The SNP MSP says the irony is that increasing usage and demand means that the internet service is now inadequate.

    He says there are technological challenges of managing a difficult terrain. 

    Mr McKenzie says the current commitment on connectivity is not good enough because islanders are always left behind.

  11. Highlands and Islands MSP says there still needs to be a fight to get 100% coverage

    Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant says the Western Isles has the worst broadband speed.

    Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant

    Ms Grant says the Highlands and Islands Broadband Project has made a real difference, but there still needs to be a fight to get 100% coverage.

    In particular this would protect the most vulnerable.

  12. Background: Digital Scotland project rollout

    Parts of Orkney, Hebrides, Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Moray, Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire were due to get faster broadband in the first half of last year.

    The Scottish government said 54,000 more homes and businesses would benefit from the latest rollout of Digital Scotland, a public-private partnership. 

    Computer keyboard and mouse
    Image caption: Forty-three places across Scotland are to be offered access to high-speed fibre broadband

    Forty-three places were to be offered access to high-speed fibre broadband. 

    The government said it was committed to delivering "world class" connectivity in Scotland by 2020. 

    The new locations were to include Stornoway, Tomintoul, Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Rothesay. 

    More than 216,000 homes and businesses can already get speeds of up to 80Mbps through the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership.

  13. Constituents can't take this anymore from BT says SNP MSP

    Mr Russell says his constituents can't take this anymore from BT.

  14. Mr Russell says BT is letting down constituents

    Mr Russell points out the case of an elderly constituent who lost her landline last year and whose alarm pendant has not worked since before 22 December.

    BT logo on building

    This despite repeated calls being made on her behalf to BT.

    He says BT is letting that lady down and other constituents across Argyll and Bute.

  15. The SNP MSP says there is a crisis in BT in Scotland

    SNP MSP Mike Russell says the rollout of the broadband project is continuing apace.

    The Argyll and Bute MSP says the real problem lies with BT which provides the infrastrucfure for all the rest.

    SNP MSP Mike Russell

    He says many of his constituents have a major problem with BT.

    The SNP MSP says there is a crisis in BT in Scotland in how it delivers.

  16. Call for fast internet service

    The Lib Dem MSP says fast internet is a service that many people take for granted and he very looks forward to the day it will be across Scotland. 

  17. People are frustrated by the lack of progress on Digital Scotland rollout

    Mr Scott says numerous constituents believe they will not benefit from the latest rollout of Digital Scotland.

    The Lib Dem MSP says people are frustrated by the lack of progress. 

  18. 'Not-spots' in mobile phone coverage far more common in rural and island communities

    Mr Scott adds that "not-spots" in mobile phone coverage, including 2G and 3G, are far more common in rural and island communities. 

    Full implementation of superfast broadband and universal mobile phone coverage can counter falling population in outlying areas while bringing significant economic benefits, he insists. 

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott

    The Lib Dem MSP says plugging the remaining gaps in coverage is likely to require a range of different technologies. 

    He calls for the Scottish government to work with partners to find solutions for households and businesses in harder-to-reach communities and prioritise investment in those places that fall below the average or have no access to broadband and mobile phone coverage.

  19. The current Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme has vast regional variations

    Mr Scott uses his motion to insist reliable and affordable broadband and mobile phone coverage is essential for businesses and households looking to access a range of services. 

    Superfast broadband - light passing through rural area

    The Shetland MSP says the current Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme has vast regional variations, with only 75% of premises in Orkney and 77% of premises in Shetland being reached by the end of 2016. 

    This compares with the 95% target across Scotland as a whole by March 2018, he says. 

  20. Shetland fictional mobile coverage

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott begins by saying the thriller Shetland is on the BBC at the moment, which is obviously fiction as there have been no recent murders on the island and Dougie Henshall is seen repeatedly using his mobile. 

    Dougie Henshall in Shetland
    Image caption: Dougie Henshall in Shetland