Residents dig deep for ultrafast broadband connections
Two remote hamlets in Sutherland now have among the fastest speeds in Scotland.
Two remote communities now have among the fastest broadband speeds in Scotland after residents helped with digging to lay fibre optic cables.
Openreach's fibre cables have gone live in Altnaharra, Sutherland, where around 60 houses and businesses can now order broadband with speeds of up to 330Mbps.
The first ultrafast fibre services have also gone live in the hamlet of Skerray, Sutherland, with work continuing to reach outlying properties.
Openreach has funded the two pilot fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) projects, building cables direct to local properties, with both communities helping with digging work.
As part of the schemes, residents and workers from the Altnaharra Estate helped to dig in around almost three miles of cable.
Due to the high costs of bringing faster broadband to small communities in remote areas, many of the villagers have been making do with some of Scotland's slowest connections of around 0.5Mbps.
Residents said the new ultrafast service has already brought huge benefits.
'They'll see their internet connections rocket from some of the slowest speeds in Scotland to some of the fastest.'Clive Selley, Openreach
Becy Robertson, manager of Altnaharra Hotel, said: "Our original broadband was truly snail pace at around 0.53Mbps - we had a hub in the office and guests would sit in the library beside us trying to get connected.
"We'd have a group of cyclists all trying to update their online blogs, while office staff could not even print a menu.
"So when we had the big surprise that we were going to be getting ultrafast, it was Christmas all over."
She added: "We now have fibre in the office with a download speed of 80Mbps and upload of 20Mbps and it makes a big, big difference.
"We do all our banking online and can now do this whenever we like rather than waiting for a quiet time of day when bandwidth is available.
"Our booking process has improved dramatically, as we can now update online availability in real time when we take reservations over the phone."
Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: "We promised the people of Altnaharra and Skerray their new ultrafast services by this autumn and we've delivered to the majority in Altnaharra ahead of schedule and are on track in Skerray.
"They'll see their internet connections rocket from some of the slowest speeds in Scotland to some of the fastest, and it's great to hear that the first local residents and businesses are already making use of the new, ultrafast network.
"We're 100% committed to using our digital expertise and innovation to bring high-speed services to as many remote communities as possible, including supporting the Scottish Government in their ambition to reach every premises in Scotland."