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UPD Digital Scotland UK Reveals First 8 Superfast Broadband Rollout Areas

Wednesday, Oct 16th, 2013 (7:23 am) - Score 1,380

The £264m Digital Scotland project, which aims to ensure that 85% of Scottish homes and businesses can access BT’s “high-speed fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network by the end of 2015 and around 95% by the end of 2017, has revealed the first 8 areas to benefit and most appear to be in the Highlands and Islands region.

Overall some 16,000+ premises on the outskirts of Inverness, and along the coast into Moray, will be the first to go live during early 2014. Take note that this figure includes some infill work around the Inverness Macdhui exchange and Elgin as part of BT’s separate £2.5bn commercial deployment (i.e. 1,825 premises).

The initial communities include Ardersier, Buckie, Milton of Leys, Fortrose, Hopeman, Inverness, Culloden, Lhanbryde and Lossiemouth.

Stuart Robertson, HIE’s Director of Digital, said:

This is by far the most challenging rural broadband rollout in the UK and we are delighted that our first communities will be accessing services within months.

Commercial rollout taking place across the UK would have reached no more than one in five premises in the Highlands and Islands So the project’s target of 84% coverage levels for the region will represent a significant step change.

This first rollout of fibre broadband will be available to customers who are connected to a number of street cabinets within the eight exchange areas. Homes and businesses will be able to check availability over the coming weeks and there will be further work carried out in these areas to extend the reach as the rollout progresses.”

BT, which is contributing £106.7 million of its own investment towards the effort, expects to lay more than 800km of fibre optic backbone cable on land and 400km more via 20 subsea crossings as part of the project. Scottish locals should also expect additional areas to be announced as part of the schemes quarterly roll-out updates.

It should be noted that the remote Highlands and Islands region only expects its own FTTC/P coverage to reach at least 84% by 2016, which leaves quite a big and expensive gap to fill.

UPDATE 28th October 2013

The Digital Scotland website has now published several rough roll-out maps for the scheme (here).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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