HIGH-speed fibre broadband has been rolled out to thousands of homes and businesses on a Scottish island.
More than 2,700 homes and businesses in Rothesay and Ardbeg on the Isle of Bute can now order fibre-based broadband through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project.
It’s fantastic to see the first homes and businesses now able to order in RothesayJohn Swinney
It is the first step for the roll-out of better broadband in Rothesay, with more coverage in the town, and for other villages across the island to follow.
The £146 million project is being led in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), with work on the ground being carried out by Openreach, the local network division of private sector partner BT.
Funding is coming from the Scottish Government and the UK Government as well as HIE and BT.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “We are changing the shape of access to better broadband for our rural and island communities.
“The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project is making high-speed services available to thousands of people every week in places which would not have been reached through the market.
“It’s fantastic to see the first homes and businesses now able to order in Rothesay.
“It’s another step in building the infrastructure which will see us fulfil the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver world-class connectivity in Scotland by 2020.”
As is the case for the roll-out in larger rural towns across the UK, services will be available in stages.
The access is being provided through seven green fibre cabinets, six in Rothesay and one in Ardbeg, which have been built next to existing telecoms cabinets.
HIE’s director of digital Stuart Robertson highlighted that where new services are available customers will not be automatically upgraded.
He said: “Fibre is an entirely different service, so if it’s available you have to order.
“You can look on our online checker www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhen and then speak to your internet service provider to get connected.
“Openreach engineers will be back in the area soon to roll out services to more people.
“This will include creating brand new networks to connect hundreds of premises which currently get their telecoms direct from the exchange, known as ‘Exchange Only’ lines. This includes many premises in the town centre.”
The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects - one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland.