BT has been boasting about the success of its project to lay subsea fibre links running out to the Scottish Islands, which will bring superfast broadband speeds to residents in these remote areas.
This project is part of the broader £146 million Digital Highlands and Islands rollout, which is bringing more reliable internet connections to some 150,000 premises across the region’s remote and rural settlements.
This subsea project ran to £26.9 million, and required a “record breaking” 20 seabed crossings to lay a total of 250 miles of fibre optic cable, in what BT describes as the “most complex sub-sea engineering challenge” it has ever faced in UK waters.
BT has laid cable between the following exchanges:
Largs – Millport; Kilchattan Bay – Millport; Rothesay – Toward; Kilfinan – Lochgilphead; Campbeltown – Shiskine; Corrie – W. Kilbride; Jura – Port Askaig; Glenbarr – Port Ellen; Jura – Ormsary; Kilchoan – Tobermory; Craignure – Oban; Ardgour – Onich; Stornoway – Ullapool; Lochmaddy – Leverburgh; Carnan – Dunvegan; Ardvasar – Mallaig; Dervaig – Scarinish; Lochboisdale – Eriskay; Eriskay – North Bay; Evie – Westray.
Don’t think that these locations are now hooked up, though, as BT still has to complete work on land to finish the main network, and link these subsea connections together. The first island communities will be hooked up with working fibre come spring 2015 (with speeds of up to 80Mbps).
By the end of 2016, the target is for the fibre network to encompass some 84 per cent of the Highlands and Islands region.
Ed Vaizey, Digital Economies Minster, commented: “An additional 150,000 Scottish homes and businesses can now access superfast broadband as a result of our nationwide rollout so far, and we’re reaching an additional 40,000 premises across the UK every week. The completion of the subsea work is a major milestone which will mean that island communities are not left behind as we continue to transform the digital landscape of Scotland.”