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#General Tech

BT finishes 250 miles undersea fibre rollout across Scotland

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BT has announced it has finished deploying 250 miles of fibre-optic cables between various Scottish islands in a bid to take high-speed broadband connectivity to some of Scotland’s remote Highlands and Islands area.

The £26.9 million project is part of the wider £146m Digital Highlands and Islands rollout, which aims to take faster, more reliable broadband to more than 150,000 premises across the Scotland’s most remote communities.

The deployment involved 20 seabed crossings, over distances ranging from one mile to 50 miles. While the longest subsea connection stretches the 50 miles from Ullapool to Stornoway, the shortest is a one-mile cable between Ardgour on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and Onich, south of Fort William.

BT claims the new project will offer fibre broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps, which is about 10 times faster than the current top speeds available on most Scottish islands, which are mainly connected by radio links. The project aims to bring high-speed fibre broadband to 84 percent of the Highlands and Islands by the end of 2016, the operator noted.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, confirmed that the Highlands and Islands broadband rollout is by far the most ambitious and challenging BT has undertaken anywhere in the UK.

“This has been the most complex subsea project BT has tackled in UK waters, as well as being the largest number of seabed cables laid in a single weather window. I’m so proud of the endeavour shown by the whole team to overcome the technical and environmental challenges,” Dick said.

“This underwater spider’s web of fibre optic cables is set to deliver a seismic shift in communications for Scotland’s island communities, bringing them in closer touch with the rest of the world than ever before.”

Welcoming the move, UK Government Digital Economies Minster Ed Vaizey said “An additional 150,000 Scottish homes and businesses can now access superfast broadband as a result of our nationwide rollout so far, and we’re reaching an additional 40,000 premises across the UK every week.

“The completion of the subsea work is a major milestone which will mean that island communities are not left behind as we continue to transform the digital landscape of Scotland.”