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Fibre broadband rollout overcomes 'complications' to reach Cairngorms National Park

Monday, August 24th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Superfast broadband has reached the most northerly national park in the UK, despite "complications".

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project has rolled out fibre to the village of Kincraig in the Cairngorms National Park.

Coverage has also reached Aviemore and in the coming months will get to Boat of Garten, Carrbridge, Dulnain Bridge, Grantown, Kingussie, Nethy Bridge, Newtonmore and Tomintoul.

But the rollout hasn't always gone smoothly, with the area's topography proving a tough challenge for engineers.

The arrival of superfast broadband was marked by representatives of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), BT and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

They met at Kincraig Stores – one of the first places in the area to order fibre broadband.

The family-run store, which has been at the heart of the community since the 19th century, has stayed up to date and this year scooped the Scottish Local Retailer ‘Best Use of Technology’ award.

Calum Duncan, who works at Kincraig Stores with his parents Gordon and Eileen, said: “We’ve ordered the new services and the faster speeds, particularly for uploading, will make things easier for the variety of work we do digitally.

“As well as ordering online with our suppliers, we have spent a lot of time developing our website and social media to provide added value for the local community.

“We get a lot of interaction particularly through Facebook. Faster connections are such an important part of life for businesses and the community – it’s great news that it’s here in Kincraig.”

HIE’s director of digital, Stuart Robertson, said: “It’s great to see the first services now available to order in Kincraig and in the first parts of Aviemore.

'Remarkable but challenging'

“We’re seeing good progress in Kingussie and we will start to see services becoming available there within weeks. We are also ahead of schedule in Newtonmore.

“The national park is a remarkable but challenging geographical area and locals will not be surprised to hear we can hit complications when building a network of this scale.

“It is taking us a little longer to reach Tomintoul and Grantown than we had hoped, but we continue to work through the planning and building process. We will bring these areas through as soon as possible.”

Willie McKenna, a CNPA board member, added: “We are highly delighted that superfast broadband is now available within areas of Badenoch and Strathspey.

“The rollout of fibre broadband is a vital area of work and it is exciting to see the cabinets now being installed across the area.

“The availability of superfast broadband will help enhance the national park’s status as an attractive place in which to live and do business.”

Work on the ground is being carried out by Openreach, the local network division of BT. Funding is coming from the Scottish Government and the UK Government as well as HIE and BT.

Robert Thorburn, BT’s programme manager, said: “It’s fantastic to see local business people like Calum explore how they add value to their business through the power of the internet.

“The introduction of fibre will open up even more opportunities to develop this and I look forward to seeing how homes and businesses in the area benefit from its introduction.”

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