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Remote island communities connected to ultra-fast broadband

Two of Scotland's most westerly island communities have welcomed full fibre broadband.

Connected: Full fibre broadband has come to North Uist. <strong>Pixabay</strong>
Connected: Full fibre broadband has come to North Uist. Pixabay

Two of Scotland’s most westerly island communities have welcomed full fibre broadband, described as a “game-changer” for residents and businesses.

Openreach said all 113 households on Grimsay, off North Uist, and 220 households on Great Bernera, off Lewis, can now access ultra-fast broadband.

The high-speed networks were built as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and involved laying miles of sub-sea fibre routes.

Previously, people on the island used a wireless connection over an independent radio network.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director for Scotland, said: “When we started planning the Digital Scotland roll-out, 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.

“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.”

Scottish Government minister Joe FitzPatrick added: “Full fibre not only enables local industries to engage fully online, but future-proofs the island for economic development and growth.

“In a world where technology is a main driver, good connectivity levels the playing field, creating new opportunities and stemming depopulation.”


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