Four Moray communities are to be switched on to high-speed broadband services in July after being named as part of the second roll-out of fibre-optic services in the Highlands and Islands.
The exchanges at Cullen, Findhorn, Fochabers and Forres will join Lossiemouth, Buckie, Hopeman and Lhanbryde where the new service is due to go online in March.
As a result of the upgrade business and domestic customers will be able to upgrade their internet access services to speeds of around 80Mps in what is said to be the most ambitious communications infrastructure project in the UK.
Costing £146million, the project is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and delivered by BT over three years that will bring fibre-optic broadband to 84% of people in the area.
The project is funded by the Scottish Government, HIE, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, BT and local authorities, with the rollout forming part of a wider £410million Digital Scotland project aiming to deliver fibre broadband to areas which would not have been reached commercially.
Joining HIE’s Stuart Robertson and BT’s Brendan Dick at the announcement of the latest stage of the project this week was Moray’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, who said: “Today marks an important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership.
“The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe.
“It’s fantastic news that many rural communities and businesses, from the Highlands to the Borders, will soon begin to see the benefits of high quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term.
“However, this is not the limit of Scotland’s ambition. The Scottish Government’s aim is to deliver world class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere using any device.”
Mr Robertson, who is Director of Digital Highlands and Islands, added: “We are delighted to be bringing fibre broadband to homes and businesses which wouldn’t have seen it commercially.”
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Today is a major step forward in a journey that will transform the communications landscape of rural Scotland and help develop prosperous local economies.
“Our engineers have been working hard behind the scenes with colleagues in local and national Government to get us to this point. Planning a project on this scale, to get the very best value for money and maximum coverage, is a phenomenal task.”