Council welcomes faster broadband for Highland communities

Issued by BT

BT announced today that around 32,200 homes and businesses in the Highlands and Islands will have access to faster broadband by next summer.
Alness, Dingwall, Fort William, Grantown-on-Spey, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Lerwick and Oban are among 47 Scottish communities – passing 186,000 premises – included in the latest roll-out plans for BT’s next generation broadband service delivered over copper lines. (A full list is at the end of this release.)

The BT investment makes available broadband speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than double the maximum speeds previously available to the majority of UK homes and businesses.
Today’s announcement means that the technology will be available to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses in Scotland by next summer – equivalent to about 72 per cent of all premises.

The new, next generation broadband network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services.

This investment is in addition to BT’s on-going £2.5 billion UK roll-out of super-fast fibre-based broadband, which is expected to bring even faster speeds to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

Brendan Dick, director BT Scotland, said: “BT’s roll-out of faster broadband across Scotland is gathering pace. Earlier this month we announced plans which will make super-fast, fibre-based broadband available to 695,500 homes and businesses by the end of next year. Now we are able to confirm a further major investment in faster broadband speeds over copper lines.

“Nobody is doing more than BT to roll-out faster broadband across Scotland. At a time of economic uncertainty these major improvements will provide a big boost for Highlands and Islands businesses and offer many additional educational and entertainment opportunities in those eight communities.
“And we want to go further. We want to work with the public sector to find ways of bringing faster broadband to areas which are geographically and commercially more challenging.”

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Investment said: “We very much welcome this latest announcement from BT. Faster broadband is going to play a key role in Scotland’s future success. In an increasingly competitive and technological world it is vital that local businesses and households have access to high-speed sophisticated communications. Just like roads and railways, broadband is a vital part of the essential infrastructure of Scotland.”
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning Environment and Development Committee, said: “The announcement by BT of five further exchange upgrades in the Highlands is a welcome boost to business and community broadband usage.

“Following the announcement about an upgrade to super-fast broadband for Nairn the Highland Council is pleased to see the latest in BT’s continuing programme of broadband improvements. We have campaigned on this issue for many years and working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise want to see superfast broadband accessible to all communities in the Highlands at the earliest opportunity”.

23 Dec 2011
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