High­landers dig in to get ul­tra­fast broad­band


The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY MICHELLE HEN­DER­SON

One of the most re­mote parts of main­land Bri­tain has joined the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion – thanks to their own spade­work.

Busi­nesses in Alt­na­harra, Suther­land, can now en­joy some of the fastest broad­band speeds in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Open­reach.

To speed up the process of in­stalling the con­nec­tions, lo­cal peo­ple and work­ers from Alt­na­harra Es­tate helped to lay about 4,800m of the ca­ble needed.

Open­reach said broad­band speeds of up to 330Mbps were now pos­si­ble.

“They’llsee their­in­ter­net con­nec­tions rocket”

Pre­vi­ously, Altnharra had some of the slow­est con­nec­tions in Scot­land.

Sev­eral ul­tra­fast broad­band ser­vices are al­ready up and run­ning in Sk­er­ray, with en­gi­neers from the provider con­tin­u­ing to work over the com­ing weeks to get as many house­hold con­nected as pos­si­ble.

Open­reach chief ex­ec­u­tive Clive Sel­ley said: “We promised the peo­ple of Alt­na­harra and Sk­er­ray their new ul­tra­fast ser­vices by this au­tumn, and we’ve de­liv­ered to the ma­jor­ity in Alt­na­harra ahead of sched­ule and are on track in Sk­er­ray.

“They’ll see their in­ter­net con­nec­tions rocket from some of the slow­est speeds in Scot­land to some of the fastest, and it’s great to hear that the first lo­cal

res­i­dents and busi­nesses are al­ready mak­ing use of the new, ul­tra­fast net­work.

“We’re 100% com­mit­ted to us­ing our dig­i­tal ex­per­tise and in­no­va­tion to bring high speed ser­vices to as many re­mote com­mu­ni­ties as pos­si­ble, in­clud­ing supporting the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment in their am­bi­tion

to reach ev­ery premises in Scot­land.”

As part of the ul­tra­fast pi­lots, lo­cal peo­ple and work­ers from the Alt­na­harra Es­tate have helped to dig in around 4,800 me­tres of ca­ble.

Dur­ing the in­stal­la­tion of the ul­tra­fast broad­band, Open­reach be­gan test­ing

a se­ries of new de­vices such as the Ditch Witch, a dig­ger de­signed to re­duce costs of de­liv­er­ing Fi­breto

The dig­ger is to pro­vide a quicker and more ef­fi­cient way of bury­ing ar­moured fi­bre ca­bles, and fol­low­ing its suc­cess in Suther­land, the newly de­signed equip­ment

will be rolled across the UK.

An Open­reach spokesper­son spoke of the ad­van­tages this new tech­nol­ogy will have in rolling out faster broad­band across the coun­try. They added: “The Ditch Witch has a num­ber of ben­e­fits. Its small size means we can of­ten avoid


traf­fic man­age­ment and road clo­sures, plus it is agile enough to dig off-road, up steep ter­rain and in wooded ar­eas.

“It’s now be­ing used to roll out fi­bre in other parts of the UK, help­ing to con­nect up com­mu­ni­ties who would oth­er­wise be be­yond reach.”

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