Homes and businesses in Lerwick will be able to gain access to faster broadband – up to 20 megabits per second – by next summer, according to BT.
The company said today that 9,650 premises in Lerwick and Kirkwall will be included in its latest roll-out plans for the next generation broadband service. The towns are among 47 Scottish communities to benefit from the investment.
According to BT 20Mbps is more than double the maximum speeds previously available in the UK, and if achieved will mark a significant improvement on the existing service.
The investment is in addition to BT’s on-going £2.5 billion UK roll-out of super-fast fibre-based broadband, which is expected to bring even faster speeds to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.
Brendan Dick, director BT Scotland, said: “BT’s roll-out of faster broadband across Scotland is gathering pace. Earlier this month we announced plans which will make super-fast, fibre-based broadband available to 695,500 homes and businesses by the end of next year. Now we are able to confirm a further major investment in faster broadband speeds over copper lines.
“Nobody is doing more than BT to roll-out faster broadband across Scotland and this latest announcement will take next generation technology to homes and businesses in both Kirkwall and Lerwick. At a time of economic uncertainty these major improvements will provide a big boost for Northern Isles businesses and offer many additional educational and entertainment opportunities for local households.
“And we want to go further. We want to work with the public sector to find ways of bringing faster broadband to areas which are geographically and commercially more challenging.”
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael welcomed the announcement. He said: “For too many years Orkney and Shetland have been at the back of the queue when it comes to digital services and I know that this announcement will be welcomed by people who are able to benefit from these improvement works.
“Broadband internet has become an increasingly important part of our national infrastructure and it is important that the Northern Isles do not miss out. The government is committed to ensuring that we have universal internet coverage in the UK. Ministers will continue to work with companies like BT to deliver next generation broadband across the Highlands and Islands.”