Latest stage of islands broadband roll-out confirmed

Alasdair Allan.

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Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed confirmation that the next stage of the superfast broadband rollout in the Western Isles will begin in the new year.

On Monday, Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed the £384 million contract to deliver superfast broadband for the North of Scotland – which had previously been delayed by a legal challenge – has now been signed with BT and that work will begin in the new year.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology will be used for more than 80 per cent of addresses connected during the North lot contract build. This technology was rolled out in Grimsay and Great Bernera last year, enabling households there to reach download speeds nearly 20 times the UK average.

Mr Allan commented: ‘We all know how important broadband is to our day-to-day lives, and those without good quality internet are being increasingly left behind as the world becomes more and more digital.

‘Now that the contract between BT and the Scottish Government has been signed, I am eager to see work progress as soon as possible in the New Year to ensure that everyone in the islands is able to access good quality superfast broadband.

‘There has been huge progress made over the last five years, but we still have around 20 percent of households in the islands without access to superfast broadband, and hundreds of properties with internet speeds that are all but unusable.

‘The rollout of FTTC to those communities has the potential to be game-changing by making life more practical and opening up a range of new opportunities.’