Superfast broadband speeding ahead

Computer and mouse.
Computer and mouse.

The roll-out of the superfast broadband network for the Outer Hebrides is speeding ahead, say Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Homes and businesses in the first parts of the Back and Barvas areas can now order fibre broadband based services.

The way people are connected is via green fibre cabinets built in the communities. The location of cabinets is designed to maximise the number of people reached.

So far areas connected and taking orders in the Back area include Outend Coll, Vatisker and Gress. In Barvas, people linked into the first cabinet for the village (which has been built at the exchange building) are live.

Further cabinets drawing in more people in both these areas are still to be built.

The £146m project for the region is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Work on the ground is being carried out by Openreach, the local network division of private sector partners BT.. Funding is coming from the Scottish Government and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) as well as HIE and BT.

Stuart Robertson, director of digital at HIE, said: “It’s great we have been able to bring in the first services for customers outside of Stornoway ahead of schedule

“People who can get the service should note that homes aren’t upgraded automatically – if you want a fibre broadband package you have to order it from an Internet Service Provider.

Customers can check availability on their own phone numbers at www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhen

The first phase of the roll-out across the Highlands and Islands runs until the end of 2016. There were no plans to deliver fibre-based services commercially to the Outer Hebrides. By the end of the first phase the project will reach at least 70% of premises on the Outer Hebrides.