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Thousands more Scottish homes set for a superfast broadband boost

03 February 2015

Parts of the Outer Hebrides, Mull and the Isle of Bute are among 43 places which are next in line for high-speed fibre broadband, through a massive public-private investment.

Across Scotland, 54,000 more households and businesses will be able to benefit from the new local networks being created by the latest Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout, which also includes Moray, Highland, East and West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire (see list below). The first connections in the latest locations will start to go live this summer.

More than 216,000 homes and businesses can already get better connected - at speeds of up to 80Mbps* - thanks to the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership.  And now the project is reaching further into rural areas as engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, continue work on the ground.
The Moray village of Tomintoul in the Cairngorms National Park will become the highest in Scotland to be connected to high-speed fibre broadband.

Over the next six months residents in Stornoway in Lewis will see engineers build the local networks needed to bring fibre based broadband to almost 5,000 premises in the Outer Hebrides for the first time. 

In Argyll and Bute the roll-out is ahead of schedule with Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Rothesay all expected to see services from this summer – several months ahead of the planned 2016 roll-out.

And today on Orkney the project is announcing the first live services in Kirkwall, and the further roll-out to more island locations over the next six months.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said: “We are seeing growing momentum in the roll-out of better broadband. Homes and businesses in rural communities from Lerwick in Shetland to Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway are already able to order.  The project is developing a high speed fibre network which is changing the face of broadband and helping fulfil the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver world class connectivity in Scotland by 2020.

“We’re reaching out to those who would not have been covered through the commercial market - in cities, in towns and into some of our most rural areas. The connections will bring benefits to the Scottish people at home and in business.”

The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects. One is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for its region and the other covers the rest of Scotland. Funding partners include the Scottish Government, HIE, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities, the European Regional Development Fund and BT.

Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital at HIE, said: “With each step we bring fibre to communities which could not have hoped to receive it without this investment. The ambitious roll-out is a huge engineering challenge. The first of our Argyll islands and the Outer Hebrides will see connections over the next six months as a direct result of the successful laying of hundreds of miles of subsea cables over the summer.

“In Orkney today we are announcing that more than 1,200 Kirkwall premises can now order fibre based broadband. Work will continue in Kirkwall and Stromness, as previously announced, and move on to St Margaret’s Hope, Deerness, Evie and others.

“In Moray, where we have already reached half of all premises, we are bringing services to the Cairngorm National Park area and one of our highest locations - Tomintoul.”

Both projects are being delivered on the ground by BT, which is investing £126m in the programme.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “The completion of our massive sub-sea cable laying programme has allowed us to make early inroads into delivering fibre for some of our island communities, well ahead of schedule. It’s great to see this progress when we’re still in the relatively early stages of the Digital Scotland partnership.

“Our fibre network passed around 10,000 new Scottish homes and businesses every week last year and we’ll continue to reach more and more communities in the course of this year.  We’re very pleased to be playing our part to help connect the nation to fast fibre broadband and we know there’s still a lot to do.”

UK Government Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband continues at pace and it's fantastic to see the huge progress made in Scotland to date.

“Today's announcement of the next 43 places in Scotland to benefit from our investment will see another 54,000 more homes and businesses join the 216,000 properties we've already reached. This huge boost to connectivity is a key part of the Government's long term economic plan and we're on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017."

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time and more quickly than ever before. As the higher speeds become available, anyone interested in signing up for fibre-based services should contact their service provider.

Users can check the interactive map for details on roll-out and you can follow us on Twitter @HIEdigital 

*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.
Our 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.

Areas announced

Argyll and Bute

Campbeltown; Craignure; Lochgilphead; Rothesay


Aviemore; Corpach; Cromarty; Culbokie; Drumchardine; Duror; Fearn; Fortrose; Grantown On Spey; Invergordon; Munlochy; Urray


Brodie; Speybay; Tomintoul


Burray; Deerness; Evie; Finstown; Harray; Holm; Kirkwall; St. Margaret's Hope; Stromness

Outer Hebrides


Rest of Scotland

Balmore, Milngavie, Lennoxtown, Baillieston, Glasgow Central, Clydebank, Possil, Stepps, Bridge of Weir, Kilmacolm, Killin, Brediland, Erskine, Kilbarchan

Leave a comment

Callum 03/02/2015

this doesn't look like 43 places to me? more like 30 when will me know the rest?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 04/02/2015

Hi Callum, this is a Scotland wide announcement and I only listed the Highlands and Islands areas for our audience. I've added the other Scottish locations to keep us right .

iain campbell 05/02/2015

Hi do you have an avarge date of Campbeltown going live as i am trying to get best deal with ISP for as soon as it is live Thanks

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 10/02/2015

Hopefully we will see services start within six months Iain. If you have twitter follow us on @HIEdigital We will be tweeting new areas on there first.

Maria Jemicz 09/02/2015

When is Superfast broadband due in Arrochar? The above link for the interactive map does not work.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 10/02/2015

oops - sorry Maria - fixed now.

Pat Dean 11/02/2015

Our village of Clachan is on the A83 between Lochgilphead and Campbeltown - any idea of when we are likely to receive fibre optic?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 11/02/2015

The Clachan exchange area is part of the project and will see roll-out in 2016.

Barry Lane 17/02/2015

With all the fibre cable laying going on along the A830 can you give an update on the situation with the Kinlocheil Exchange

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 19/02/2015

Hi Barry, the cable you are seeing being laid is part of the creation of a core fibre network around the region, it does not in itself deliver services to homes. After it’s in place engineers then build additional local networks involving more cabling and often green cabinets. The current roll-out is designed to reach as many premises as we can – within the current budget and available technology. There are areas, often where there are smaller numbers of homes some distance from each other that are much harder to reach. The Kinlocheil exchange is one of these areas. We are hopeful; of some coverage in your exchange area, and will looking at the local network likely in the second half of next year. As roll-out progresses we are looking at how additional funding and technology coming through can help us cover more areas. Community Broadband Scotland has also been put in place to provide support to communities unlikely to benefit from current roll-out, and you may already be aware of the Locheilnet project?

Robert 22/02/2015

Nowhere but nowhere can I find even a guesstimate of when my local cabinet will be upgraded. I'm in Corntown, and the Dingwall Exchange has already been upgraded.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 25/02/2015

Hi Robert, we have sent you an email to see if we can help.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 25/02/2015

Hi Robert, we have sent you an email to see if we can help.

Ian 14/03/2015

Hi i live in benbecula,our exchange is an EO Exchange and i live less than 1/2 a mile from the exchange what download speed can i expect to get?

Neil 03/04/2015

When is the rest of Nairn going to get superfast please?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 21/04/2015

We're still working in Nairn Neil. Keep an eye on our checker and if you want to be alerted if services become available, you can sign up to the Digital Scotland Keep Me in the Loop service

Brian 20/04/2015

Do you have a scheduled date for superfast - or fibre - broadband for Bernisdale, Clachamish, and Edinbane areas on the Isle of Skye? These areas are about 9 - 15 miles north of Portree. Thank you.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 20/04/2015

Hi Brian, these areas fall into separate exchange areas - Skeabost Bridge and Edinbane. Both areas are scheduled to see work on the local networks start in the first six months of 2016. The best way to keep up to date is on the checker - put in your phone number and then you can see how you are connected. If you click on the coloured exchange you see more detail scheduled roll-out times.

Ian 21/04/2015

the rollout date for benbecula is jan-june 2016 when will it be possible to place an order to upgrade to fibre?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 22/04/2015

Hi Ian, when the local network has been built you will be able to check whether your premises can benefit from it. When the roll-out gets closer, usually within six months, the checker will update to coming soon. When services are live it will reflect that and you can speak to an internet service provider to order. if you want belt and braces Digital Scotland has a 'keep me in the loop' option which alerts people if services go live in their area - there's a sign up on the home page

Ian 18/08/2015

Hi Stornaway is now live, when will we get more information for North Uist,Benbecula,& South Uist

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 19/08/2015

The Western Isles local networks will roll-out in 2016. The map currently indicates timescales for when work will be happening in the various areas. We will have more info by the end of this year on which towns/villages will see some coverage.

Julian rossiter 07/02/2016

Im moving from inverness to nort uist.feb /march 2016.will bt be providing internet then as i am a customer in inverness Most other firms are charging v.high rates

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 08/02/2016

Hi Julian, it depends where you are moving to. The project is currently building a local fibre network which will bring fibre based broadband services (available through a variety of Internet Service Providers) to parts of N Uist. Work has started in Lochmaddy and later in the year we also expect there to be some coverage in the Solas area. The project is designed to draw in as many homes and businesses as possible but until the network has been through full planning and build I don't know who will be able to order. When services start to go live local folk can check their postcode or number on our checker on the website here - but it won't have much info until it's closer. Hope your move goes well.

Graham Hall 12/05/2015

Hi, My son is living in a house (Glencairn PH22 1RD) on the B970 between Coylumbridge and Boat of Garter. It is the last house at the end of a long copper wire from the Aviemore exchange. We tried for broadband a few years ago and it didn't work however in the last few weeks we tried again as we were assured things have been upgraded, however the engineer seemed to say that he thought it was alost cause. The phone has been reconnected, but it looks as if the only option in the short term is satelite broadband which is expensive and not without it's problems. Any ideas when things might improve? Regards Graham

Sarah Crowe 07/07/2015

Any ideas when Stromness will go live The telephone exchange site says it hasn't been upgraded unlike Kirkwall and despite all the cabinets they've installed they don't seem to be doing anything as not spoken to anyone in the town who's been able to upgrade to infinity. Where about to move into the town from the outer areas and most checker sites say not available yet bt seem to be taking pre- orders for it?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 09/07/2015

hi Sarah, the first cabinet in Stromness is taking orders - it's cabinet 1 and covers a fair patch of the south of town, round the museum area? We're still working through the various stages of getting more cabinets ready. The exchange itself isn't significant, as we have to re-route lines currently connected to the exchange into cabinets. It's a bit more complicated so it can take a bit longer.

Eileen Cairns 18/08/2015

Can you tell me what date Stepps is getting fibre optic broadband. Thanks.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 19/08/2015

Hi Eileen, our project only covers the Highlands and Islands. Have a look at - there is a map on there which will let you check progress for your number or postcode. You can contact the Digital Scotland team through the website if you still have questions.

Maria Jemicz 19/10/2015

There is no information on the interactive map re Arrochar when is super fast broad band coming to Arrochar and is it possible to be given cable for my property in readiness for connection?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 26/10/2015

Hi Maria, thanks for getting in touch. The map indicates that roll-out work has started in the Arrochar area with first services coming through within the next six months. You don't need to worry about getting your own cabling, if the project is able to reach your home you would order services through an internet service provider who would discuss any requirements with you. (Often services come through your existing phone line so no need for extra cables just a new hub). While not everyone in the whole of the Arrochar area will be reached, the project has been designed to reach as many people as possible.You can continue to watch the map or sign up for more info from the Digital Scotland website (For info there are two projects delivering the rural broadband roll-out for Scotland - Arrochar is not part of the HIE project area - but the rest of Scotland) I hope this helps.

ian bell 23/01/2016

When will you give us more information about the benbecula exchange,iasked this question 7 months ago, and was told, would get more inf by end of dec 2015,its now end of jan and still none the wiser!! if lochmaddy has got a date please tell me when benbecula will get one

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 25/01/2016

Hi Ian, good to hear from you. Benbecula is progressing according to plan. We are about to announce places where work is starting and Benbecula is one of those. This means it will now start the process of cabinet location, local fibre network, power, testing and then services will be available to those who can be reached by the new network.

ian bell 30/03/2016

hi, is there any timeline for the benbecula exchange yet as i was told 2 months ago we would hear in about 2 weeks,you gave me original timeline of jan-june 2016 but i see no work being carried out,any chance of getting a much clearer timeline for going live, may thanks Ian

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 07/04/2016

Hi Ian, we put out a press release on 3 Feb that said that work in the Benbecula area is due to start by June 2016. There are Openreach teams on the islands and they continue the roll out as fast as they can. I don't have any further details on exact locations of cabinets as yet.

ian bell 12/06/2016

hi its the middle of june,the website says you are on track,but i see no news for going live,when will the benbecula exchange go live

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 22/06/2016

Hi Ian, Can you please get in touch with us at If you send us your phone number, address and postcode we will have a wee look at the latest for you.Many thanks.

Ken Bowker 19/08/2016

Considering that the fibre line passes the Lochailort Exchange, just 6kms away from mer, when will Roshven, Glenuig (and Lochailort itself) be connected?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 29/08/2016

Hi Ken, I'm afraid the Lochailort exchange area is not part of the first phase of project roll-out. The main core network is now closer to you, and this may make a solution in the future more likely. But it in itself doesn't deliver the services - these come through new fibre cabinets and connection points. The current roll-out has been designed to reach as many people as possible - but there are some areas which we couldn't reach within the current budget and technology. Digital Scotland is already looking at how a future project can reach further - it will review everyone without superfast speeds. If you currently have speeds below 2 Mbps there is a voucher scheme for satellite. If you need more info on this you can contact us at

ian bell 07/11/2016

hi can we get some update on the benbecula exchange, as to when it will go live?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 07/11/2016

Hi Ian, we've put an update to Am Paipear last week for Uist. The building of the fibre optic network has started in Uist, with the first of the new fibre cabinets standing in the Grogarry, Locheport (note: area not township), and Sollas areas. It is hoped that the first customers will be able to order services from some of these in time for Christmas. As well as the cabs started people will also see work in the Benbecula, Carnan and Lochmaddy areas this year. Some areas are more difficult than others, and BT planners have looked again at both Benbecula and Lochboisdale to ensure that the network draws in the most people possible during the physical deployment. We do hope to see some parts of Benbecula live this year. More will follow in 2017. Coverage in Berneray, like Scalpay, is making use of ‘wireless to the cabinet’ technology. Work is progressing on the transmission equipment to serve the cabinet there. Customers attached to the new cabinet in Eriskay can now order.

ian bell 04/01/2017

hi could i get an update on the benbecula exchange,as original timeline outdated

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 06/01/2017

Hi Ian, we didn't update the map because we had hoped to get the first Benbecula cab in before Hogmanay. Had a wee glitch with it but it is imminent. The first one is cabinet 13 which will be located roughly in Creagorry. There is a downloadable update for the OH local authority area in the digital section of our website It's on the news pages.

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