BT and Digital Scotland - the programme designed to get Scotland geared up for the ‘digital age’ - have completed the subsea fibre optic roll-out, which will bring superfast broadband to most remote and island communities in the country by 2017.
The £26.9 million project has not been without its problems. In order to link 40 island and mainland locations, the cable has to make a total of 20 seabed crossings, and one setback involved the cable-laying ship losing its submersible plough - which is worth £3.6million! It was eventually recovered and work was not unduly delayed by the incident.
BT has described the project as "the most complex subsea engineering challenge ever undertaken by BT in UK waters". The longest subsea route covered - between the town of Ullapool on the mainland and the town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis - is almost 50 miles.
Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney said: "Today marks an incredibly important step in the completion of the most complex ever underwater engineering that Scotland has seen. It is a hugely impressive technological feat that work has been completed in such a short timescale."
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, added: "This underwater spider's web of fibre optic cables is set to deliver a seismic shift in communications for Scotland's island communities, bringing them in closer touch with the rest of the world than ever before."
Digital Scotland aims to make fibre optic broadband available to 85% of Scottish homes and businesses by the end of 2015 and 95% by the end of 2017. To find out if fibre optic broadband has arrived where you live, just bung your postcode into a broadband price comparison site. Y'know, like this one.
Source: ISP Review