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Highlands fibre broadband rollout adds two new 'pockets of coverage'

Wednesday, December 16th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than 300 homes and businesses in two Highlands communities can now order high-speed fibre broadband after recent upgrades to street cabinets in the area.

Around 180 premises in the Road of the Hay area in Portree, and just over 130 in the Kirkton Road area of Lochcarron, can now access fibre services.

The upgrades were carried out as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, which is led in the area by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The project, which has so far reached more than 90 towns and villages, is taking the availability of fibre broadband in the region from 4% at the start of 2014 to 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 rollout 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 BT, with Openreach engineers delivering the project on the ground.

'Fibre foothold'

BT Scotland director Brendan Dick 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.”

Last month, engineers used a series of historic causeways built in the Second World War to take fibre broadband to communities in the Orkney Islands.

The Churchill Barriers, built on the orders of Winston Churchill after the sinking of HMS Royal Oak by a German U-boat in 1939, were used to run network cables to help the rollout of superfast broadband.

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