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BT lays a 250 mile cable: Scottish Highlands & Islands subsea fibre route is finished

Thousands of locations across Scotland’s Highlands and Islands will soon be able to order superfast broadband, thanks to BT’s sub sea cable work. 

Over 250 miles of fibre optic cable has been installed on the bed of the Atlantic, connecting 40 mainland and island locations. 

Work will now continue on land to complete the main network, with the first island communities due to go live in Spring 2015. 

BT lays a 250 mile cable: Scottish Highlands & Islands subsea fibre route is finished
On land and in the sea: BT’s fibre expedition joins the dots

Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the project as the most complex underwater engineering project Scotland has ever seen.

Swinney said: “The rollout of superfast broadband will allow many households across our islands to connect to fibre broadband services for the first time, as well as giving businesses the opportunity to enhance their services.”

BT lays a 250 mile cable: Scottish Highlands & Islands subsea fibre route is finished
Click to enlarge

Thanks to 20 seabed crossings running from Orkney to Kintyre, 84 per cent of Highlands and Islands properties will be able to order superfast broadband by the end of 2016.

The project will lay more than 500 miles of new land fibre backbone to complement BT’s current fibre network. The Highlands & Islands project is one of the two BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) projects that’s running in Scotland. 

By the end of both the Highlands & Islands and Digital Scotland projects, it’s expected that over 750,000 premises will be able to order superfast broadband from a number of ISPs using BT’s Openreach network. 

Most customers should be able to get speeds of at least 24Mbps and top speeds of 80Mbps, based on the current technology. In the majority of cases, BT engineers will roll out FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections but a handful will be able to order faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines, delivering top download speeds of 330Mbps. 

There’s no figures available to indicate exactly who will get what and when, but promised updates to BT’s own postcode checker should be able to tell residents and businesses what’s in store for them. 

Right now, more than 150,000 premises across Scotland have access to superfast broadband thanks to the two BDUK schemes. Including BT’s own commercial rollout, more than 1.4 million Scottish premises in total can now access high-speed services. 

Alongside the map above, BT has detailed which exchanges are connected by the subsea links:

  • Largs – Millport
  • Kilchattan Bay – Millport
  • Rothesay – Toward
  • Kilfinan – Lochgilphead
  • Campbeltown – Shiskine
  • Corrie – W. Kilbride
  • Jura – Port Askaig
  • Glenbarr – Port Ellen
  • Jura – Ormsary
  • Kilchoan – Tobermory
  • Craignure – Oban
  • Ardgour – Onich
  • Stornoway – Ullapool
  • Lochmaddy – Leverburgh
  • Carnan – Dunvegan
  • Ardvasar – Mallaig
  • Dervaig – Scarinish
  • Lochboisdale – Eriskay
  • Eriskay – North Bay
  • Evie – Westray


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