More small and remote communities are to get digital broadband, BT has announced.
The next stage of the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout aims to reach 73,000 more homes and businesses in 24 council areas, from Bressay in Shetland to Dolphinton in the Borders.
The small communities around Loch Ness and the Highland fishing village of Mallaig are among the places getting high speed fibre for the first time.
Brendan Dick, director of Digital Scotland partner BT Scotland, said: “It’s great news that some iconic and very rural Highland locations are next in line to benefit, including a number of Loch Ness communities. Maybe even Nessie will go online.
“Across the UK, 23 million premises are now covered by BT’s open access network, with three million of those enabled under the BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) programme.
“Our Openreach engineers have worked tirelessly to connect some of the most remote parts of Scotland, from Shetland and the Hebrides to Rothesay in Argyll and Bute, and now places like Dores and Drumnadrochit are set to follow.
“On the back of strong take-up of fibre services in partnership areas, BT is releasing additional funds which will enable us to go even further at no extra cost to the taxpayer much earlier than originally expected. Around £17.8 million is available for Scotland to help us reach even more communities like the ones we’re announcing today.”
However, Digital Scotland has advised that not all premises will be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point due to “current network topography and the economics of deployment”, and warned that “actual results may differ from those expressed or implied” due to unforeseen circumstances.
The UK Government today announced the UK-wide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million homes and businesses, nearly 400,000 in Scotland, and is on track to reach 95% of Britain by 2017.
Almost £18 million will be made available in Scotland to take the rollout of fibre broadband further.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “By reaching out to those communities who would not have been covered by the commercial market, in towns and into some of our most rural areas, we are ensuring that the connections which are made will bring many benefits to the Scottish people both at home and in business.”
UK Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than three million homes and businesses in the UK, with more than 394,000 in Scotland alone now able to connect to the new fibre network.
“The UK Government is investing £120 million to roll out superfast broadband in Scotland and I’m delighted at the tremendous progress being made which will see around 95% of Scotland able to access superfast speeds by March 2018.”