MORE than 100 homes in scattered Highland communities will soon benefit from faster, more reliable broadband, according to project bosses.
Openreach said around 140 homes from Achnasheen to Aultguish in Ross-shire, north-west of Inverness, will be upgraded to “ultrafast” technology by the end of the year.
Two-thirds of the properties are to receive fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, led in the area by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, while the remaining households are getting a full-fibre upgrade through a community partnership with Openreach.
Homes in remote communities such as Achanalt, Lochluichart, Corriemoillie, Little Garve, Gorstan, Grudie and Inchbae will be among those seeing significant increases in their broadband speeds, according to the firm.
The new network started to go live this week, with about 90% of premises in Achnasheen now able to order a service.
The project comes after a year of research by the voluntary group Garve and District Broadband (GDB), which looked at all the options for delivering broadband in the rural location and concluded that a full-fibre network was the best option.
Community spokesman Steve Jones said: “Like many residents I’ve only been getting very slow speeds capped at 0.5Mbps, making even the most basic of online activities difficult and frustrating, so looking forward to ultrafast speeds is fantastic.
“Fast, reliable broadband will bring huge potential to regenerate our scattered communities. It’s a prerequisite for attracting families and businesses to the area, where the population has fallen in recent years.
“People now expect good internet as a basic. In essence, it will help us to build a closer and more integrated community.”
Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director for Scotland, said: “The challenges facing the Garve and District communities were phenomenal and they’ve worked incredibly hard to develop a unique solution.”
He added: “We’re making good progress and we’re excited to announce today that the very first residents in Achnasheen can now place their orders with their chosen service provider. We expect to complete work by the end of this year.”