Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Highlands and Islands - HIE is contracting BT to build broadband networks worth £120 million

The Northern Times reports a £120 million boost for broadband to bring "superfast broadband" to communities across the Highlands and Islands. The programme, funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will be undertaken by BT.

The Stornoway Gazette quotes Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan:

HIE, who are in conversation with BT at present are drawing up plans which will include in some areas major works such as new sub-sea cables, and which will, I hope, now ensure next generation broadband comes to the islands over the next few years.

“I will be keeping in touch with the project to establish further details about works to be carried out locally, as the contract for the Highlands and Islands will be awarded as soon as August. Work will start shortly thereafter to address the ‘backhaul’ issue – in other words the huge amount of work that needs to be done between the Western Isles and the central belt before we have any chance of improved broadband speeds here.

See also the press release from HIE. Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HIE, said:
This funding puts the Highlands and Islands on track to deliver the largest and most challenging rural broadband project in the UK. By bringing together the expertise and investment of both the private and public sector we want to roll out a service which will change the face of the region. Businesses and communities will see benefits where they matter most including in education, in supporting healthcare services and by opening up new markets. Our ultimate aim is for all parts of the Highlands and Islands to benefit and this news brings us a step closer to our goal.

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