Category: Caithness

Reference Library – Scotland – Caithness Broadband

BT Openreach rolls out broadband trial to 2 remote communities 0

BT Openreach rolls out broadband trial to 2 remote communities

Two of Scotland’s most remote mainland communities are set to see broadband speeds surge to among the fastest in the UK, with residents helping to dig in new cables. Ultrafast fibre is to be laid straight to the door of properties in Altnaharra in Sutherland and Skerray in Caithness 1 , allowing internet download speeds to rocket from less than 0.5Mbps to up to 330Mbps by the autumn. Altnaharra, Sutherland .

Picture: Royal Mail BT company Openreach said all 45 of the scattered households linked to the Altnaharra telephone exchange will be included, while in Skerray around 100 premises could benefit. People living on the private Altnaharra Estate are to help dig in new cable which crosses its land, while in Skerray, residents who live some distance from the core network have also agreed to dig in sections of cable to their properties, to specifications agreed with Openreach. READ MORE: What areas of Scotland have the worst broadband speeds? 2 Openreach is funding the scheme but both communities have pledged to help with some of the digging work to manage costs and ensure they are among the first to trial the “fibre to premises” service.

As well as increasing speeds, the work will address a high fault rate in Skerray where existing copper cables buried under the beach have been damaged by lightning strikes. Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: “As our core fibre spines penetrate even deeper into rural Scotland, it brings new opportunities to improve broadband speeds for remote communities. “In Altnaharra and Skerray, we’re assessing a new concept, building fibre from new nodes off the spines direct to local properties with support from the local communities. This builds on recent partnership and commercial investments in the Highlands and islands. “We’ll test how we can use the spines to reach very rural communities, and the distances over which we can use fibre effectively.

Our learning from these innovative trials will inform our wider fibre strategy and could potentially help us to reach other very remote communities around the UK. “The two pilot communities will see their broadband speeds jump dramatically, as well as improvements to their existing services, so this is a win-win situation.” READ MORE: How do we fill Scotland’s broadband black hole? 3 References ^ Caithness (www.scotsman.com) ^ READ MORE: What areas of Scotland have the worst broadband speeds? (www.scotsman.com) ^ READ MORE: How do we fill Scotland’s broadband black hole? (www.scotsman.com)

Highland residents help dig cables to ensure ultrafast broadband 0

Highland residents help dig cables to ensure ultrafast broadband

Cables are laid in remote communities to boost broadband speeds (BT Openreach/PA Wire) Two of Scotland’s most remote mainland communities are set to see broadband speeds surge to among the fastest in the UK, with residents helping to dig in new cables. Ultrafast fibre is to be laid straight to the door of properties in Altnaharra in Sutherland and Skerray in Caithness, allowing internet download speeds to rocket from less than 0.5Mbps to up to 330Mbps by the autumn. BT company Openreach said a ll 45 of the scattered households linked to the Altnaharra telephone exchange will be included, while in Skerray around 100 premises could benefit.

People living on the private Altnaharra Estate are to help dig in new cable which crosses its land, while in Skerray, residents who live some distance from the core network have also agreed to dig in sections of cable to their properties, to specifications agreed with Openreach. Openreach is funding the scheme but both communities have pledged to help with some of the digging work to manage costs and ensure they are among the first to trial the “fibre to premises” service. As well as increasing speeds, t he work will address a high fault rate in Skerray where existing copper cables buried under the beach have been damaged by lightning strikes.

Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: “As our core fibre spines penetrate even deeper into rural Scotland, it brings new opportunities to improve broadband speeds for remote communities. “In Altnaharra and Skerray, we’re assessing a new concept, building fibre from new nodes off the spines direct to local properties with support from the local communities.

This builds on recent partnership and commercial investments in the Highlands and islands. “We’ll test how we can use the spines to reach very rural communities, and the distances over which we can use fibre effectively.

Our learning from these innovative trials will inform our wider fibre strategy and could potentially help us to reach other very remote communities around the UK. “The two pilot communities will see their broadband speeds jump dramatically, as well as improvements to their existing services, so this is a win-win situation.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise: Our efforts have helped to cushion the economic blow 0

Highlands and Islands Enterprise: Our efforts have helped to cushion the economic blow

HIE’s own figures showed that the financial backing it gave to businesses and social enterprises helped to create or retain 1688 jobs. “ANOTHER year of encouraging progress”. The last year summed up in a sentence by Lorne Crerar, the chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The development agency chief said the continued oil and gas downturn, pressures on public sector budgets and uncertainties around EU membership presented “many challenges”.

However, those problems were being tackled by “innovation, ambition, entrepreneurship and resilience” by the region’s businesses, social enterprises and communities. The statement came after HIE’s own figures showed that the financial backing it gave to businesses and social enterprises helped to create or retain 1688 jobs, of which 169 were in fragile areas. Turnover among those firms was forecast to increase by £120.4 million over three years, and international sales by £79.5 million.

The figures also reflected steady growth among small to medium enterprises across the Highlands and Islands. And inward investment activity increased significantly during the year with HIE helping to support 12 projects. Lorne Crerar: Delighted at the contribution the organisation has made.

Mr Crerar said: “It has been another year of encouraging progress for the Highlands and Islands. “A key part of HIE’s role is to foster those qualities and target investment in initiatives that stimulate and enable growth. “I am delighted at the contribution the organisation has made over the past year and look forward to continuing to work with our partners, businesses and communities across the region and beyond to build on this in the years ahead.” The figures showed community development activity continued through HIE’s work with social enterprises and communities, with the region’s social economy turnover forecast to increase by almost £5.6 million. Some £1.8 million of this will be generated by community-owned assets. The Scottish Land Fund, administered by HIE and Big Lottery on behalf of the Scottish Government, was extended to all communities across Scotland, including urban areas.

In 2016-17 the fund awarded more than £4 million to 54 projects, 31 of them in the Highlands and Islands, including acquisition and post-acquisition developments. Major milestones for HIE-led infrastructure projects included the opening of three new buildings at Inverness Campus and the first student accommodation block, the completion of the 180 metre Dales Voe South quay in Shetland, and the installation of all four turbines in the MeyGen tidal energy project off the Caithness coast. HIE also approved further investments in the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and the new Orkney Research and Innovation Campus, a joint venture with the islands’ local authority.

Wave Energy Scotland, a subsidiary of HIE, approved £12.4 million in funding to 17 technology development projects. Digital connectivity continued to improve for businesses and households across the region, with the number of premises with access through the HIE-led Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project reaching 155,000. A further 1400 premises are now connected through 13 projects supported by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), which is also run by HIE on behalf of Scottish Government.

CBS has delivered or has firm plans to deliver broadband to a total of 11,200 premises across Scotland within its current budget. May 2016 saw the opening of #hellodigital, the Digital Scotland Excellence Centre, established by HIE on Inverness Campus. More than 2000 delegates have since attended events and business briefings on topics such as drone technologies, digital making, virtual and augmented reality.

Companies involved include Google, IBM, CENSIS, the Datalab and Microsoft.

Following the extension of ScotGrad, the graduate placement programme run by HIE, 31 graduates and 15 students were placed with businesses across the Highlands and Islands during 2016/17.

HIE’s achievements will be in its annual report and accounts presented to Parliament this autumn.