Work to bring ultrafast fibre broadband to the Highlands is just weeks away from being completed
Highland Broadband is set to rollout a new service initially focusing on 5,000 premises in Alness, Easter Ross before the end of the year, digitally transforming connectivity in the area.
The provider is a trading name of Lothian Broadband Networks Limited (LBNL), who plan to invest £75million to connect over 70,000 premises in rural communities and small towns across Scotland over the next four years.
CEO Gavin Rodgers said: “We are hugely excited to be bringing the fastest network available in the UK to the Highlands.
“LBNL already provides broadband in the region through our subsidiary Highland Wireless - so we know first-hand the positive difference this development will make to the communities there.”
Following the first phase of the installation in Alness, the fibre network will expand outward to the towns of Evanton and Invergordon. It will also extend northwards to include Ardross as well as a number of smaller villages along the way.
The technology being installed, Adtran powered XGS-PON FTTP, has the capability to support up to 10Gb symmetrical connectivity, currently the fastest and most reliable network being built anywhere in the UK.
Highland Broadband are also using local contractors to carry out the works, helping support local business and investing in local supply chain.
In January the Scottish National Investment Bank committed £20 million of cornerstone funding to LBNL to help tackle digital inequality in rural communities and small towns in Scotland.
One of the Bank’s key missions is to extend the equality of opportunity by improving places and the LBNL investment will help increase digital connectivity to under serviced communities.
A vibrant rural digital economy and increased connectivity can also help reduce car journeys by allowing people to work from home and assist a just transition to net zero by 2045.
Gavin Rodgers added: “We are especially grateful for the support from the Scottish Government and specifically the independent backing from the Scottish National Investment Bank.
“It allows us to continue our commitment to building quality digital infrastructure and ultrafast, reliable and affordable full-fibre broadband across Scotland with this phase now taking us to rural villages and towns in the Highlands.”
The Bank’s investment supports the UK and Scottish government commitments to high-speed broadband access. The UK Government has a target of at least 85% of the population having access to gigabit (1,000 Mbps) broadband by 2025 under its National Infrastructure Strategy.
Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "I am delighted to have supported LBNL's plans to bring gigabit connectivity to Easter Ross.
“Improving broadband connectivity in the Highlands at pace is absolutely key to our success as a region, and I look forward to the day that every household and business in my constituency can access superfast speeds. This is an excellent start."