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Buffering no more: Rural Scots get 2000 times faster broadband

Communities in Ross-shire given ultrafast broadband to keep them connected.

Faster: Residents are rejoicing that internet speeds are up.
Faster: Residents are rejoicing that internet speeds are up. Flickr/CC

As many parts of Scotland enjoy streaming television shows, downloading films and posting pictures to their social media pages, others have been struggling with their internet speeds.

In tiny settlements and hamlets in Ross-shire, residents and businesses have been struggling with broadband speeds of just 0.5mbps.

Skype calls are stunted and web pages slow to load in the Garvie and District area.

Yet this is beginning to change, as a new project has seen broadband speeds soar, becoming 2000 times faster than residents are used to.

Around 140 homes stretching from Achnasheen to Aultguish will be upgraded to ultrafast broadband by the end of the year thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Others will gain a full-fibre upgrade through a Community Fibre Partnership with Openreach.

The Community Fibre Partnership scheme is designed to help people in places not included in any current roll-out plans to bring fibre broadband to their local area, working with Openreach to co-fund the installation.

"With this fibre development, it's bye bye to buffering. We'll be able to email with ease, we'll be able to skype and actually see the people we're Skyping," explains Steve Jones, who lives in Achnasheen.

"Good broadband is so important to grow and sustain a rural community like ours."

More than a third of properties in the 26-mile area have organised their own digging to lay the cables, with communities rallying together to hire their own local contractor.

For businesses, connecting to faster broadband means being able to keep up with internet speeds customers from other areas of Scotland are used to.

Craig Duffield from Ledgowan Lodge says the improvement will help to overhaul facilities at his hotel for both guests and staff.

"We're going from 0.5mbps, to try and share 0.5mbps with a whole hotel of guests doesn't really work well to be honest, so it will be fantastic," he says.

"Our booking systems will be able to be done online, more effectively and quickly."

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