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Superfast broadband for thousands of rural homes and businesses

15 January 2014

Homes and businesses in Argyll and Moray will be able to receive superfast fibre broadband by this summer, as part of a publicly funded rollout being delivered across the Highlands and Islands.

Oban, Taynuilt and Ledaig in Argyll join locations in Cullen, Findhorn, Fochabers, and Forres in Moray in a second round of announcements of places in the region where fibre services will be available.

Services are set to go live by July, and customers who can access fibre broadband could receive speeds of up to 80Mbps*. The areas announced today join the initial eight revealed in October, all of which are set to go live before April.

Hailed as the most ambitious digital infrastructure project in the UK, the £146m Highlands and Islands rural broadband project is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and delivered by BT. It is being delivered over the next three years and will bring fibre broadband services to around 84% of homes and businesses, reaching the majority of premises in every local authority area.

Funding partners include the Scottish Government, HIE, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, BT and local authorities. The Highlands and Islands rollout forms part of a wider £410m Digital Scotland project and its aim is to deliver fibre broadband to areas which would not have been reached commercially.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: “Today marks an important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe.

“It’s fantastic news that many rural communities and businesses, from the Highlands to the Borders, will soon begin to see the benefits of high quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term.

“However, this is not the limit of Scotland’s ambition. The Scottish Government’s aim is to deliver world class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device.”

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands and the other covering the Rest of Scotland. A national announcement today also includes the first locations to be named for upgrade as part of the Rest of Scotland project (full details below).

In total, more than three quarters of a million homes and business premises are expected to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative.

More locations will be announced quarterly for the life of the projects as the fibre network rolls out across Scotland. Further local detail will be provided as plans advance and anyone interested in the rollout can keep up to date at and at

Stuart Robertson, HIE’s Director of Digital Highlands and Islands, said: “We are delighted to be bringing fibre broadband to homes and businesses which wouldn’t have seen it commercially. The areas announced so far are just the beginning, and BT will announce new areas every quarter for the next three years as the rollout progresses across the region. Whether for business or for social use, high-speed broadband has the capability to transform the way our communities live and work.”

The partnership programme is in addition to BT’s £2.5b UK commercial rollout, which will bring faster fibre broadband within reach of more than 1.4 million Scottish homes and businesses by the end of spring 2014, with nearly 900,000 premises already passed.

In the Highlands and Islands, the rollout has been designed to build out as quickly as possible from the existing commercial infrastructure.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Today is a major step forward in a journey that will transform the communications landscape of rural Scotland and help develop prosperous local economies.

“Our engineers have been working hard behind the scenes with colleagues in local and national Government to get us to this point. Planning a project on this scale, to get the very best value for money and maximum coverage, is a phenomenal task.”

The new fibre based network will be open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis. Households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The £100.8 million that the UK Government has provided to Digital Scotland will help take superfast broadband to some of the most remote locations in the country, who would otherwise be left in the digital slow lane. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to the Scottish economy.”

New exchange area                     Local Authority                    

  • Aberdeen Bieldside               Aberdeen City
  • Aberdeen Kingswells *          Aberdeen City
  • Aberdeen Kingswells*           Aberdeenshire
  • Kintore                               Aberdeenshire
  • Monifieth                            Angus
  • Amisfield                             Dumfries and Galloway
  • Castle Douglas                     Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dundee Invergowrie*           Dundee City
  • Ceres                                  Fife
  • Leuchars                              Fife
  • Tayport                               Fife
  • Almondbank                         Perth and Kinross
  • Dundee Invergowrie*            Perth and Kinross
  • Methven                              Perth and Kinross
  • Scone                                 Perth and Kinross
  • Melrose                               Scottish Borders
  • Selkirk                                 Scottish Borders
  • Bridge Of Allan                      Stirling
  • Gargunnock                          Stirling
  • Cullen                                  Moray
  • Findhorn                              Moray
  • Fochabers                            Moray
  • Ledaig                                 Argyll and Bute
  • Taynuilt                               Argyll and Bute

Additional coverage in areas which are                     
included in commercial fibre upgrades                                  Local Authority

  • Aberdeen Lochnagar                                                            Aberdeen City
  • Aberdeen West                                                                   Aberdeen City
  • Inverurie                                                                             Aberdeenshire
  • Dumfries                                                                             Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dundee Steeple                                                                   Dundee City
  • Cumnock                                                                             East Ayrshire
  • Cupar                                                                                  Fife
  • Perth                                                                                  Perth and Kinross
  • Galashiels                                                                              Scottish Borders
  • Ayr                                                                                     South Ayrshire
  • Bannockburn                                                                        Stirling
  • Dunblane                                                                             Stirling
  • Stirling                                                                                 Stirling
  • Forres                                                                                  Moray
  • Oban                                                                                   Argyll and Bute

*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure.


Forward looking plans are subject to change. The expectations reflected in this forward-looking plan are reasonable, but as rollout involves risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ from those expressed or implied.

The Highlands and Islands Broadband project includes the following local authority areas: Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), parts of Argyll and Bute and part of North Ayrshire (Islands).

The Rest of Scotland project is being supported through £157.6million public funding including £50 million from BDUK and BT’s private investment of £106.7million.The public funding includes funding from all 27 local authorities in the project area and additional funding from 14 local authorities who are investing around £51 million to increase coverage, meet local priorities and address the digital divide in their areas. Coupled with the investment in the Highlands and Islands region announced earlier in the year, it brings the total investment in fibre broadband in Scotland to more than £410 million.

The Rest of Scotland project area includes the following local authority areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, parts of Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire (apart from the Islands), North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian.

  • About Highlands and Islands Enterprise

    Highlands and Islands Enterprise is the Scottish Government's economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland – a region which covers half of the country.

    HIE pursues four priorities to support Scotland's economic recovery and deliver sustainable growth across the region:

    - Supporting businesses and social enterprises to shape and realise their growth aspirations.
    - Strengthening communities and fragile areas.
    - Developing growth sectors, particularly distinctive regional opportunities.
    - Creating the conditions for a competitive and low-carbon region.

    You can visit our website at follow us on Twitter @HIEScotland and on Facebook at
  • About BDUK

    Superfast Britain is a UK Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:

    • £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
    • £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
    • £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services

    Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

    For further information:
  • About BT

    BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m.

    British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

    For more information, visit

Leave a comment

Marion Lacey, Director, Rock Solid Social Research Ltd. 09/02/2014

I'm moving to Argyll to the Lochgilphead area of Loch Fyne and am disappointed to see no information on proposed improvements in broadband for businesses in the Minard Exchange. Can you advise me on the proposed coverage in Argyll and Bute and timescales involved for businesses like myself who currently use BT broadband for communication with clients and research?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 10/02/2014

Hi Marion. There is a map on our website which will give you an idea of timescales and coverage. More detailed information on where and when will be provided by BT closer to the time. A postcode checker can be found on the Openreach website If you are interested in fibre services we recommend your register interest with your current Internet Service Provider, who will keep you informed of when additional services may be available to you specifically.

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