COMMUNICATIONS giant BT is investing £8 million to bring cable broadband to the far north of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland.
The firm said seven towns will benefit from its “ambitious” plan to run a new fibre transmission link from Inverness through the north of Scotland to the two island communities.
Almost 1,000km of fibre cable, including 400km laid beneath the sea, will be used. The existing microwave radio links that serve Orkney and Shetland will be retained for back-up.
BT said the project has involved bespoke design work to cater for the distances involved and to enhance the remote maintenance and service of the equipment.
The link, one of the longest optical transmissions systems in the UK, is set to be up and running by early next year.
The group will also upgrade its network to bring the latest generation “ethernet” to Dingwall, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Tain and Thurso.
It claims it will offer businesses and public sector organisations in those areas “a massive step forward in communications capability” at the same time as significantly reducing costs.
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Faster broadband is touching the lives of everyone from small businesses to internet shoppers, and transforming the way we do things for the better.
“BT is committed to making faster technologies available to as many homes and businesses as possible.”