Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed the news that in the Western Isles Government investment has led to more than 135 fibre cabinets being built, delivering superfast broadband access to more than 12,000 premises and covering around 71% of homes and businesses. He said there was still a lot of work to be done however to get to bring superfast broadband availability up to the levels seen in other parts of the country.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise are leading the £146m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project in the area, which has surpassed the target of reaching 86% of premises across the Highlands and Islands as a result of successful take-up and efficiencies in BT delivery. This represents massive progress since 2013, when only 4% had access to fibre broadband in the region. The Scottish Government has already exceeded its Programme for Government pledge to deliver fibre broadband to more than 95% of premises in Scotland.

Partners involved in the Digital Highlands and Islands Project include Digital Scotland, the Scottish Government, the European Regional Development Fund, Broadband Delivery UK, Citizens Online and Business Gateway.

Alasdair Allan said:

“It is a landmark achievement that the DSSB project - the most ambitious fibre infrastructure programme in the whole of Europe - is already exceeding the aims set out in the 2017-18 Programme for Government. More than 71% of homes in the Western Isles now have access to superfast broadband. This figure was zero before this project started.

“However, this is of course no comfort at all to the people who still don’t benefit. The Scottish Government will not rest until the £600 million ‘Reaching 100%’ programme delivers access speeds of at least 30Mbps to every single premise in Scotland, no matter the location, by 2021.

“Fast and reliable internet is fundamental for the future economic and social success of our islands. It won’t be easy, but the Scottish Government is focussed on ensuring that rural communities are among the first to benefit from our commitment to provide 100% access to superfast broadband and turn Scotland into a world-class digital nation.”

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