Just over 300 homes and businesses in Portree and Lochcarron can now access higher speed fibre broadband following the early upgrade of two existing telecoms cabinets.
Around 180 premises in the Road of the Hay area (at the Kiltragleann development) in Portree, and just over 130 in the Kirkton Road area of Lochcarron can now check and order next generation broadband.
Customers in these areas can put their phone number into the interactive map to see what’s available. Orders can be placed with an Internet Service Provider.
So far the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has reached more than 90 towns and villages. The investment is boosting availability of fibre services from the 4% who had access in the region at the start of 2014 to more than 84% by the end of next year.
Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital at HIE, said: “We’re delighted to see Lochcarron and Portree getting their first fibre cabinet each, ahead of the roll-out scheduled for 2016 across some of Scotland’s most dramatic west coast geography.
“The main core fibre network connection is live at Kyle of Lochalsh, and this has allowed Openreach engineers to upgrade these two existing cabinets quickly. While they are quite small pockets of coverage within the community, our aim is always to get people connected as quickly as we can. There will be more to follow in both these locations and in many more towns and villages.”
Build work has started on the mainland at Kyle, Plockton, and further north at Ullapool.
The coverage forms part of a three year £146m investment, 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.
Brendan Dick, director, BT Scotland, said: ”It’s terrific news that we’ve now established a fibre foothold in Wester Ross as well as going over the sea to Skye and the island capital of Portree. Now that we got the first cabs established in those areas we can grow our numbers and build a wider fibre footprint in 2016.”