Highland MP Drew Hendry today (Monday 15 August) welcomed news of another boost for businesses and homes in his constituency in gaining access to superfast high speed broadband.
Latest independent figures from Think Broadband show that 78% of premises in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey can now access ’superfast’ download speeds of 24Mbps or above. Around 86% can get broadband of at least 10Mbps or more.
Mr Hendry hailed the growth in availability of better broadband from his constituency office in Church Street. It is one of the latest locations to order fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
“It is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to do business now without good internet and it is fast becoming an essential part of our daily lives. We need to do what we can to get better service to people quicker than ever before. Indeed, digital connectivity is one of the most raised issues by my constituents and whilst there are still issues around internet access and speed in many parts of my constituency yet to be resolved, I am always keen to highlight good progress such as this recent development. Access to superfast broadband will make a big difference to businesses like the Ironworks and the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering superfast broadband to all premises by 2021 will go a long way to improving connectivity to the most rural parts of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.”
He was joined by Caroline Campbell, director of prominent local business the Ironworks, which has also linked into the new network. She commented: “Connectivity is an important part of our customer service. Reliable broadband access is increasingly important to all our clients, from those having a coffee at ‘Little Bird’, to those attending events and delivering conferences. As well as our customers we will also be looking closely at any benefits we can get from additional use of digital platforms and packages.”
Fibre based broadband is in the main delivered through cabinets. The latest locations in the city centre had to be re-networked by Openreach engineers, as they had previously been connected directly to the exchange. Around 500 homes and businesses in Church Street, Queensgate, Kenneth Street, Strothers Lane, Academy Street, Friars Street and Douglas Row have been drawn in.
HIE director of Digital, Stuart Robertson, commented: “It’s great to see increased choice in the city centre. In addition to the current ADSL broadband services available, it’s important we future proof the city’s network providing customers with better broadband now and into the future. The increase in availability of fibre through ‘fibre to the cabinet’ is good news from small businesses and local homes. For bigger businesses or where data is a priority there are options for dedicated fibre lines and business packages.”
It’s not just Inverness which has benefited from the £146m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project. Currently in Highland there are almost 250 new cabinets reaching more than 75 towns and villages that would not have seen fibre based services without the investment. See here for area lists.
The project is funded by the Scottish Government, the UK Government, HIE and private sector partner BT, with engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, delivering the project on the ground. Roll out is continuing in the area, and more premises are still to be brought into the new network.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “The combined effect of BT’s commercial coverage and the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme has meant that Inverness, and the wider area, now benefits from world-class connectivity. The area now has access to superfast speeds for homes and small businesses or ultrafast Gigabit speeds for larger organisations. We increasingly rely on streaming TV services and cloud-based services, and with the choice of many providers on the Openreach network, I’d encourage people to contract their Service Provider to upgrade today.”
Fibre is an entirely new product and anyone interested in seeing what is available to them can put their phone number of postcode into Digital Scotland’s online checker.
Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.