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First BT Superfast Broadband Cabinet in Rural Scotland Project Goes LIVE

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 (2:04 pm) - Score 876

The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has announced that the first “high-speed fibre broadband” street cabinet (FTTC) has gone live in Buckie today, which also represents the first official deployment in the highlands under Scotland’s public and privately funded Digital Scotland project.

The main programme is split into two semi-separate parts. The first is focused upon the rural Highlands and Islands area and the second covers the rest of Scotland. The HIE side is funded by £126.4m from public bodies (e.g. Broadband Delivery UK, Scottish Government etc.) and just £19.4m from BT. The coverage target for BT’s FTTC/P network here is currently around 84% by 2016.

At the outset around 400 premises in Buckie, a burgh town on the Moray Firth coast, can now order fibre services and this figure will increase to more than 5,300 as BTOpenreach’s engineers work to complete the local upgrades over the coming weeks. Additional locations will follow, most of which have already been announced here and here.

Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, said:

The importance of this rather insignificant looking roadside cabinet cannot be underestimated. It’s the milestone that marks the first time access to fast fibre broadband has been provided to anyone in Scotland as part of this exciting programme.

Taking fibre broadband to the Highlands and Islands is the most challenging engineering project BT is tackling in the UK. It’s a massive operation which includes the complexities of laying 20 subsea fibre cables in a six-month weather window kicking off in May so it’s great to see our extensive planning and logistics paying off with a live cabinet here in Buckie.

The internet is playing an increasingly important part in all our lives – whether it’s small businesses keeping in touch with their customers and suppliers, children doing their homework or playing interactive games online, grandparents staying in touch with their grandchildren, or people working from home. Each of these things is made easier, quicker and better by faster fibre broadband.”

Combined with the current commercial roll-out plans, around 95% of premises in Scotland should have access to BT’s “fibre broadband” network by the end of 2017. But it’s interesting to note that Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, today described the target as “95% of premises in Scotland covered by 2017/18“, which is the first time we’ve seen 2018 being mentioned.

It’s worth reminding that HIE are also running a £5m Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) initiative, which claims to target those communities that are “least likely to benefit from a next generation broadband solution under the Step Change Programme“. The CBS scheme will provide “advice, guidance and project funding to help communities deliver improved digital connectivity“.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar FibreFred

    It would be good to see what speeds they get, apparently FTTC is rubbish for rural areas according to some

  2. Avatar Stephen

    I know some people from that neck of the woods so I will see if I can find out from anyone if and when they take up the service.
    Hopefully it will be a sucess and start spreading further down the coast to Aberdeenshire.

  3. Avatar Neil McRae

    HIE is a fantastic project, huge subsea build, can’t see too many community projects being able to build that. looking forward to more of this roll out.

  4. Avatar George

    The Buckie exchange appears to serve over 5000 premises that does not sound that rural to me. There are exchanges in towns that serve less.

  5. It is wonderful to see the project begin. A great many people worked hard to put the budgets in place. What a difference a little cost trasparency would make!

  6. Avatar Mark

    I’m from Lossiemouth just along the coast from Buckie and can assure you that many of the towns in Moray are not rural.

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