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More places in Highlands and Islands get set for a superfast boost

Press release   •   Apr 25, 2016 17:26 BST

More than 122,000 households and businesses across the Highlands and Islands now have access to their fastest-ever broadband speeds through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

New street cabinets to deliver the high-speed services to the first of the premises in Sullom Voe in Shetland, Dores at Loch Ness and Connel in Argyll are among the latest to go live, with 70% of the region’s total number of premises now able to connect.

More than 120 villages which would not have been reached through the commercial market are now linked to the fibre network. (See below for local authority area specific details)

To benefit from the faster connection speeds, residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider, as upgrades aren’t automatic.

Other local communities are now set to follow, including John O’Groats in Caithness, Tankerness in Orkney and Castlebay in the Outer Hebrides. (Full list below) Highlands and Islands Enterprise is leading the £146m Digital Scotland project in the region.

Engineers expect the first fibre connections to be available in the villages by this autumn* as Openreach, BT’s local network business, continues work on the ground.

This first phase of the roll-out is to set to reach 84% of premises by the end of 2016.

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.

Local people can check the interactive map at www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhen to find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @HIEDigital

Ends

*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. Speeds available to the customer are dependent on being connected to an enabled cabinet and the length of line from the cabinet to the premise. Not all customers will be able to benefit.

Notes to editors

Below is a detailed list of the latest areas where work is starting between now and the autumn. Some of these areas have already been announced as work having started, but will see additional roll-out during this period (marked as Infill).

  • Coverage for a further 1,500 homes and businesses in Argyll and Bute: Appin, Barbreck, Bowmore, Coll, Craignure (Infill), Dervaig, Jura, Kilfinan, Kilmore, Lochgoilhead, Port Askaig, Portnahaven;
  • Coverage for a further 2000 homes and businesses in Highland: Carron (Infill), Dornoch (Infill), Durness, Fort William (Infill), Gairloch, Garve, Golspie, Invershin (Infill), John O'Groats, Kilchoan, Kinlochewe, Kishorn, Portmahomack (Infill), Shieldaig, Tongue;
  • Additional coverage of almost 300 premises in Moray - Buckie (Infill), Findhorn (Infill);
  • Additional coverage for over 1,000 homes and businesses in Orkney - Kirkwall (Infill), Tankerness;
  • Additional coverage of over 600 homes and businesses in the Outer Hebrides: Castlebay, Eriskay, Northbay.

Current coverage – this is the coverage only through the programme – not the total for the local authority area. In some areas there is additional commercial coverage.

  • Shetland: more than 6,500 across 8 areas, latest are Sullom Voe, Weisdale and Sandwick;
  • Orkney: more than 6,000 across 9 areas, latest are Deerness and Evie;
  • Outer Hebrides: more than 6,000 across 10 areas, latest Callanish and Leverburgh;
  • Highland: more than 58,000 across 69 areas, latest Dores and Kyleakin in Skye;
  • Moray: more than 27,000 across 20 areas; latest Carron, Kingston and Garmouth;
  • Argyll and Bute: more than 15,000 across 20 areas; latest Connel, Carradale and Tobermory;
  • North Ayrshire: more than 2,500 across 7 areas; latest Corrie.

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It 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. As of 31 March 2016, BT consisted principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach. With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

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 www.btplc.com