Full fibre goes live in the Outer Hebrides

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 3 September 2019 in News
News

Rollout will provide five hundredfold boost in connection speeds for residents of Grimsay and Great Bernera

An image of sand flats on the island of Grimsay   Credit: Colin Smith/CC BY-SA 2.0

New full-fibre broadband networks have gone live in Na h-Eileanan an Iar after the Scottish Government-backed Digital Scotland project reached Grimsay and Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides.

The latest stage in the expansion of fibre broadband provision has seen the 113 households on Grimsay (pictured above), which sits off North Uist, get access to ultrafast broadband, while 100 miles north on Great Bernera, off the north-west coast of Lewis, all 220 households can connect.

The new networks, built using 90KM of new fibre cables, are capable of carrying services at 1Gbps, around 18.5 times faster than the UK’s current average of 54 Mbps2.


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Until now, the communities have been connected to the outside world by a wireless connection over an independent radio network, with a top download speed of around 2Mbps.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director for Scotland, said: “When we started planning the Digital Scotland rollout, Western Isles was hands down the most difficult place to build. It has the lowest population density in the UK and many communities are comprised of remote and scattered households.

“This project is a game-changer for the people of the Western Isles, with a lasting legacy for the future. In a place like Grimsay, technology is truly life-changing – opening up markets and innovation for businesses and connecting islanders to each other, the world and vital services.

“There’s more to do, but if we can bring full-fibre broadband to a scattered community like Grimsay, then it can be done anywhere.”

 

About the author

Liam Kirkaldy is online editor at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where this story first appeared. He tweets as @HolyroodLiam.

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