Works to help improve the connectivity to Scotland’s islands through the R100 North contract are set to start this spring.
The works will include laying new subsea cables to supply superfast broadband to 15 of Scotland’s most remote island communities. The work is part of the Scottish Government’s £600 million Reaching 100% programme (R100).
The £384 million North Lot contract will improve connectivity to:
- Colonsay, Iona and Lismore in Argyll and Bute Council
- Eigg in the Highland Council area
- Eday, Flotta, Hoy, Rousay, Sanday, Shapinsay and Stronsay in Orkney Islands Council
- Fair Isle, Unst, Whalsey and Yell in Shetland Islands Council
Weather permitting, survey vessels are aiming to begin groundwork in May, with cable laying beginning in spring 2022.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Just a few months on from announcing the signing of the North Lot contract, this is another very significant step towards ensuring our commitment to deliver 100% superfast broadband across Scotland, including to some of our most remote island communities.
“The role of digital connectivity in our everyday lives has never been clearer as we tackle the pandemic. The new subsea cables will ensure these 15 island communities have access to future-proofed, resilient, reliable connections – something that will make a huge difference to both residents and businesses there. It will help improve the quality of life for both current and future islanders, while also benefiting visitors once inbound tourism can safely return.
“Scotland has some of the most challenging locations anywhere in Europe for providing telecommunications infrastructure, and this, alongside our interventions on mobile connectivity, demonstrates we are taking innovative steps to provide superfast access to some of the hardest-to-reach areas.
“We have also developed plans, in parallel with main infrastructure investment, to ensure our 100% superfast commitment is met with our Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme. This will ensure that everyone can access and benefit from this world-leading digital capability.”
BT plc has been contracted to deliver all the R100 contracts, and Openreach will lead the infrastructure build, including the 16 subsea cables in the North Lot.
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