Broadband News

Western Isles takes its first step on the superfast ladder

Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) may have been the last local authority area in the UK to start to see superfast broadband delivered but we spotted the first cabinets going live at the end of June 2015 and those eleven cabinets now comprise the 19.3% at 30 Mbps or faster coverage and while we have not seen any FTTC based speed tests yet, hopefully when Q3/2015 ends we will see a jump from the current mean download speed of 4.7 Mbps.

The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are calling this a momentous day with the eleven cabinets covering some 3,600 premises in Stornoway and Tong.

"This is a momentous day and a huge first step in transforming the future of connectivity for communities and businesses across the Outer Hebrides. This investment is designed to reach Scotland’s remoter communities, none of which would have seen these kinds of connections through the commercial market. It marks more positive progress thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme.

Every week we make strong progress with around 7,000 new premises having fibre made available to them. Thanks to this, and together with commercial work, we are creating an infrastructure which will see us fulfil the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver world class connectivity in Scotland by 2020, ensuring we are a world class digital nation."

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney
thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast Broadband Coverage in the Western Isles - Na h-Eileanan an Iar - coverage as of 6th July 2015
% fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 15 Mbps
29% 19.8% 19.3% 0% 0% 3.1% 47.2%

Previous speed tests in the area show the usual scattering of almost nothing to 7 Mbps and residents in Tong will be very pleased with the jump from 0.5 Mbps to FTTC speeds. The initial 11 cabinets actually give the Western Isles better affordable superfast coverage than the City of London (12.9%) and Argyll and Bute (12.2%) so it will be interesting to see how things progress the roll-out is aiming to reach 70% of premises across the islands.

For those in Stornoway but stuck on Exchange Only (EO - where telephone goes direct to the exchange without an intermediate cabinet) lines there is a message saying upgrades should be on the way but it takes longer to do the network rearrangement.


It is great to see.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 3 years ago

So who forgot about Skye, next door, still stuck in the dark ages, with no FTTx afaik, no ADSL2 and no 21CN? Help!

Eilean Leòdhais is a really big island and the defeaning silence in the article suggests that you've simply had it unless you live in Stornoway or very close to it.

  • CecilWard
  • over 3 years ago

@CecilWard It looks as if quite a bit of both FTTC and FTTP is planned by HIE for several exchanges on Skye including some exchanges where all lines are currently EO.

  • MCM999
  • over 3 years ago

I assume this is a consequence of the buildout of the submarine and land WDM fibre backhaul through Stornoway, Benbecula and Skye.

KC needs to watch out - the Western Isles will be overtaking Hull soon.

  • WWWombat
  • over 3 years ago

If some FTTP starts to appear in Western Isles too and also average speeds start to beat places like Hull that could be interesting.

City of London is first casualty, but speeds actually look pretty good even though we exclude the big corporate connections.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 3 years ago

@CecilWard I'm guessing the link to Ullapool is working and BT had already surveyed and implemented the solutions in and around Stornoway. I've asked HIE regarding progress to Skye (whether there are any delays) and their implementation of FTTC services for EO lines. They told me that they are installing cabinets for most EO customers, otherwise most towns in the Highlands wouldn't be capable of getting FTTC. They were strangely quite regarding any information regarding progress though.

  • Wolfoz
  • over 3 years ago

Meanwhile Iona, once the second heart of the Christian world, is left out - unless "Gigaplus Argyll" can find a supplier.

  • PhilipVirgo
  • over 3 years ago

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