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First superfast broadband at Loch Ness within six months

12 August 2015

New locations announced as three million UK superfast broadband milestone is reached

Loch Ness is one of the next areas to see work start on fibre networks which will bring high-speed broadband to many local villages.

Around 1,300 homes and businesses in the Dochgarroch, Dores, Drumnadrochit, Foyers, Glenmoriston, Glenurquhart and Fort Augustus areas will get access to faster broadband speeds. Work is also starting to bring fibre services to Cannich.

These places are the first around Loch Ness where work will be happening over the next six months. Information on more locations in the area may be available later in the year.

The news comes on the same day as the UK Government has announced the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million UK homes and businesses. The rollout is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and is now reaching around 5,000 additional premises every day.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is bringing better broadband to thousands of homes and businesses which could not be reached by the private sector’s commercial fibre broadband programme.

The Loch Ness coverage forms part of a three year £146m roll-out, funded by the Scottish Government, the UK Government, HIE and private sector partner BT, with engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach delivering the project on the ground. Other areas where work is due to start over the next six months are listed below.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “While Loch Ness’s most famous inhabitant may be a bit technology shy, better broadband will be of huge benefit to the homes, businesses and tourists who live, work and stay there.
“This is another step forward in the roll-out of a fibre network which is bringing superfast broadband to rural communities and businesses, often for the first time. The Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring we have the first-rate digital infrastructure we need to be a world class digital nation by 2020.”

While the roll-out will not reach everyone around the Loch, the new networks will dramatically improve connectivity in the area, delivering speeds of up to 80Mbps for those able to connect through fibre broadband cabinets and more for those able to access and install fibre to the premise.

Stuart Robertson, HIE’s Director of Digital, commented: “We are using a range of technologies to reach as many people as we can in many villages round the Loch. This will include building new cabinets and some fibre nodes.

“The challenging geography, smaller population numbers and more scattered communities make this a really challenging area to reach. There are communities where numbers are currently too small, or homes are too dispersed for us to provide a viable solution.

“We will continue to look at the best ways to reach more people. This could get easier as technology improves, as more funding comes through for future phases, and with the support of Community Broadband Scotland to consider alternative technology options where required.”

The new locations announcement follows news earlier this week that almost £18 million will be made available in Scotland to take the rollout of fibre broadband further.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “We’re making good headway with the Digital Scotland rollout, passing 7,000 more premises a week. It’s great news that some iconic and very rural Highland locations are next in line to benefit, including a number of Loch Ness communities. Maybe even Nessie will go online!
“Across the UK, 23 million premises are now covered by BT’s open access network, with three million of those enabled under the BDUK programme. Our Openreach engineers have worked tirelessly to connect some of the most remote parts of Scotland, from Shetland and the Hebrides to Rothesay in Argyll and Bute, and now places like Dores and Drumnadrochit are set to follow.

“On the back of strong take-up of fibre services in partnership areas, BT is releasing additional funds which will enable us to go even further at no extra cost to the taxpayer much earlier than originally expected. Around £17.8 million is available for Scotland to help us reach even more communities like the ones we’re announcing today.”

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "Our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than 3 million homes and businesses in the UK, with more than 394,000 in Scotland alone now able to connect to the new fibre network. The UK Government is investing £120m to rollout superfast broadband in Scotland and I'm delighted at the tremendous progress being made which will see around 95 per cent of Scotland able to access superfast speeds by March 2018."

Notes:

New areas where work is starting are announced every three months throughout the three year project. A full list of areas where work has started or is live is available here and there is also a postcode checker where people can check their own telephone or postcode details for an idea of progress.

The list below identifies new areas where we will be building new fibre infrastructure in the coming six months.

When connected to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, premises could have direct access to download speeds of up to 80 Mbps. For those with access to Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) there are options regarding speed up to a maximum of 330Mbps. These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. Speeds and installation processes will also vary from customer to customer.

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, all premises within selected exchange areas will not be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations, which may also benefit from future partnership activity.

This is not the definitive list of areas which will see coverage through the project. For instance, and for clarity re Loch Ness, neighbouring Farr is part of the project but will be announced at a future time.

  • Highland
    Bettyhill, Cannich, Cawdor, Dochgarroch, Dores, Drumnadrochit, Dunbeath, Fort Augustus, Glenmoriston, Glenurquhart, Foyers, Keiss, Mallaig, Melvich, Newtonmore and Reay
  • Moray
    Dallas 
  • Shetland Islands
    Bressay
    Hillswick

Leave a comment

 
Henry Mennie 22/10/2015

It is difficult to understand why Hie or Bt cannot give a target date for any particular cabinet or post code. You must have a Project Management Plan. All we ever seem to get is "x number of homes have been connected...x% will be connected by such and such a date". And the years go by. It is meaningless for individual households and seems to owe more to self publication.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 26/10/2015

Thanks for getting in touch Henry. Sorry you haven't been able to find the info you want - do email us at hidigital@hient.co.uk if we can help you. Our interactive map on this website does allow people to put in their postcode/phone number and see the latest position. Fibre is now available to people in around 70 of the region's towns and villages - and we do promote this because many folk think they just get upgraded automatically and don't realise that they have to order it if they want it. For those in areas where it's not available we know it's frustrating. As we get closer to your area we can provide more detail - this is because in every area we do look to maximise the numbers of people we can reach right up to the point of build.

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