Outer Hebrides

Take up of fibre broadband in Stornoway is superfast

First broadband cabinets part of superfast roll-out in Stornoway are being expanded to meet high demand

Residents in Stornoway, which last month became the first community in the Outer Hebrides to benefit from fibre broadband services, have generated such ‘superfast’, high demand that the capacity of the street-side cabinets is being increased.

So many people are signing up to enjoy download speeds of up to 80 mbps* that the green fibre cabinet in Tong has already reached initial capacity, and orders are flowing through fast on other cabinets in the town.

Engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network division – are acting quickly and a dedicated team will be extending card port capacity in all 11 of the town’s live cabinets to allow more customers to get services straight away.

The roll-out of fibre broadband in Stornoway and across the Outer Hebrides is being delivered through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project. The £146m region wide roll-out which will see the majority of premises across the Outer Hebrides better connected by the end of 2016.

The project is being led in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), with work on the ground being carried out by Openreach. Funding is coming from the Scottish Government and the UK Government as well as HIE and BT.

The roll-out is delivered in stages. Currently around 3,600 premises in Stornoway, connected through 11 live street cabinets, can order through their internet service provider.

Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital at HIE said: “It’s no surprise that there has been such a great response from Stornoway to the availability of fibre for the first time. We’ll see even more customers in the town able to order later in the year when many premises currently attached directly to the exchange are also drawn into the fibre programme.”

Exchange Only (EO) cabinets take a bit longer as the process is more complicated – the telecoms network has to be reconfigured and two new cabinets built.

In the short term those in Stornoway currently connected to EO lines will see an increase in speeds through their ADSL services as a result of the improved capacity to the island.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “It’s been a massive job to get it here, with miles of fibre cabling both on land and subsea to get the main network in place across the islands. We will be rolling out the local networks as quickly as we can to bring access to as many people as possible over the next 18 months.”

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