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BT to brave land and sea to bring superfast broadband to the Hebrides

Rejoice, people of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland! British Telecom is heading your way armed with 1,200km of fibre-optic cable, it intends to infuse with some rather speedy internet connectivity.

The telecoms giant is embarking on its toughest assignment yet, in the UK government’s ongoing mission to provide even the remotest areas of Britain with access to superfast broadband.

The £146 million project will charter the extreme north of the country, reaching as far as the Orkney, Shetland and Hebrides Islands and will bring speeds of up to 80Mbps by the end of 2016.

The construction will see 497 miles (800km) of fibre-optic cable laid on land and 248.9 miles (400km) laid on the seabed. It’ll also involve 19 crossings to each of the remote islands in the region.

Just a couple of weeks removed from announcing its plans to bring superfast speeds to the Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall, BT says this is its toughest challenge yet.

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next-Generation Broadband at BT said the firm would have to overcome some “incredible obstacles” to build the network over “some of the most rugged terrain in the UK”.

“And we have huge distances to cover as we lay our cables over the hills and glens and under the sea,” he added.

The project sees yet another chunk of taxpayer money thrown in BT’s direction as part of the Broadband Delivery UK initiative, although the Scottish government and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise group are also kicking in some cash. BT itself is contributing £19.4m to the project.

BT is now the only game in town, when it comes to bidding for these high-value infrastructure contracts, since Fujitsu pulled out of the bidding process last week. BT effectively has a monopoly on the £500m being handed out as part of the initiative and has won all of the contracts awarded so far.


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