More rural communities are next in line for a high-speed broadband boost from the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out.
Upgrades are planned to provide access to the technology to thousands of homes and businesses in small communities such as Crathes in Aberdeenshire, Balmacara in the Highlands, Blair Atholl in Perth and Kinross, Lochinver in NW Sutherland and Carsphairn in Dumfries and Galloway, with the first fibre connections due to go live this winter. Further details for each area can be found at the end of this press release.
More than 600,000 premises across the country can already connect to their fastest-ever broadband speeds through the Digital Scotland roll-out.
They include almost 50,000 premises reached by the roll-out in the last three months, many of which are in rural locations – such as Boarhills in Fife, Dallas in Moray, Schivas in Aberdeenshire, Moscow in East Ayrshire and Killin in Stirling.
The programme is delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland. Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.
Around 2,800 new fibre street cabinets are now live across 620 Scottish exchange areas. More than 7,500km of cable has been laid by engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business – enough to stretch all the way from Glasgow to Kathmandu in Nepal.
Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “We are now more than half way through the roll-out of the programme and as we progress we are starting to reach very small and more remote communities. Deploying fibre to areas like this is part of the plan that will help ensure that Scotland becomes a world class digital nation by 2020.
“In the months ahead, the programme will continue to advance across the country, bringing high speed broadband to new rural communities, whilst expanding existing coverage in many places that we’ve already reached. The difference that fibre broadband makes is remarkable; whether you work from home, run a small business or are a busy family all wanting to be online at the same time – fibre broadband will make it easier and quicker.”
Coupled with commercial upgrades, more than two million premises across Scotland can now access the higher speeds. Residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider, as upgrades aren’t automatic.
UK Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "The UK Government wants everyone in Scotland to have fast broadband, which is why we're investing more than £120m to take fibre broadband to as many parts of Scotland as possible. Thanks in part to this UK funding, more than eight out of ten Scottish homes and businesses can now get superfast broadband, and we've reached more than 600,000 premises as part of this project who would otherwise have missed out."
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. It enables multiple users to go online at the same time and speeds up internet services, uploads and downloads.
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020. It will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans.
BT is investing £126 million in the two projects, on top of its commercial rollout.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland Director, said: “The task of bringing high-speed fibre broadband to rural Scotland is a huge technical and logistical challenge for our engineers – on a par with building a new Forth Bridge or Borders Rail Link.
“With a responsibility to deliver value for money, the programme has focused on reaching the most premises possible with the funds currently available. It’s great news that following detailed local surveys, more rural communities are being included today.
“We’ve already seen many engineering innovations in this mammoth project, and there is more to come. We’d encourage people to check regularly for updates as the new network is passing more households and business premises every day.”
Local people can check the interactive map to find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @HIEDigital or @ScotSuperfast
*Deployment plans are subject to change. The expectations reflected in this plan are reasonable, but because our rollout involves risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ from those expressed or implied.
**These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
The next exchange areas scheduled for fibre rollout in the Highlands and Islands area are:
Argyll & Bute - Achnamara, Cairndow, Crinan, Glenbarr, Kilchrenan, Minard, Southend, Whitehouse
Arran & Cumbrae - Kildonan
Highland - Applecross, Aultbea, Badachro, Balmacara, Bridge of Westfield, Carbost, Dornie, Farr, Forss, Glenelg, Glenshiel, Kinlochbervie, Kinlocheil (Glenfinnan), Latheron, Lochbroom, Lochinver, Morvern, Nigg, Nigg Station, North Erradale, Poyntzfield, Skeabost Bridge, Staffin, Strathy, Stromeferry, Whiteface.
Moray - Ballindalloch, Mulben
Shetland - Bigton, Bixter, North Roe, Ollaberry
Western Isles - Balallan, Carnan, Gravir, Grogarry, Locheport, Sollas
The next locations scheduled for fibre rollout in the Rest of Scotland area are:
Rest of Scotland
Aberdeenshire Catterline, Crathes, Eden, Forgue, Whiterashes
Dumfries & Galloway Bentpath, Boreland, Carsphairn, Carrutherstown, Drummore
Perth and Kinross Blair Atholl, Glenalmond, Tummel Bridge
Scottish Borders Camptown