Orkney digital forum hears of fibre broadband progress
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017
With no plans by commercial operators to deliver mainstream superfast services in Orkney, the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project has invested in a fibre optic network over the past three years.  

Designed to reach as many people as possible within the available budget, the project has met its 75% of Orkney premises contract target.

Roll-out through the current project is continuing until March 2018 as a result of some additional funds through good take-up of services and efficient project delivery.

An overview of current coverage and continuing work was shared by HIE Director of Digital Stuart Robertson at the Digital Forum in Kirkwall, and an overview of this can be downloaded online at www.hie.co.uk/digitalnews   

He commented: “This project has brought mainstream fibre optic services to many parts of Orkney for the first time. Across Orkney today more than 6 out of 10 premises are able to order broadband with download speeds of more than 24Mbps.

“Given there was no mainstream fibre based broadband in Orkney, it’s a great first step for communities and businesses.  There is further to go, and the Scottish Government is developing the next project which aims to bring access to superfast to all by 2021.”

The fibre based broadband services in Orkney which are live now are being delivered through 54 fibre enabled cabinets which have been built across 13 Orkney areas. These include various locations across the mainland, Holm, Burray and S Ronaldsay.  Westray was reached using a new subsea fibre cable.

BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said: “Our fibre broadband roll-out programme is providing more coverage than we said we would.  I’m very pleased that we’ve delivered what’s been asked of us, and more, under the terms of the Highlands and Islands contract and we’re continuing to work hard with our partners to bring faster broadband to Scotland’s island groups.”

The services are separate to previous broadband and customers do have to check and order with internet service providers where fibre is available. The speeds available will vary according to the length of your line from the cabinet.

Project funding

*The total value of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project in Scotland is £410m. The Highlands and Islands project is £146m. It is funded by the Scottish and UK governments, HIE and private sector partners BT, whose local network business Openreach is delivering the work on the ground.

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not be able to access fibre-based broadband.

For more information, please visit: http://news.hie.co.uk

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