Openreach has unveiled plans to build ultrafast Full Fibre broadband to at least 300,000 more homes and businesses across Scotland.
More than 160 exchange areas across Scotland will be upgraded, with the majority of homes and businesses in places such as Fort William, Oban, Turriff, Burntisland, North Berwick, Pitlochry and Stranraer set to benefit from the project.
Island communities including Brodick on Arran, Portree on Skye, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Lerwick are also included, with more than 60,000 households and businesses set to receive access across the Highlands and Islands.
Residents in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway will also benefit from the infrastructure project, Openreach revealed.
The announcement, made last week, expands on Openreach’s existing nationwide build plans, which already include hundreds of thousands more premises in 100 other Scottish cities, towns and villages.
Commenting on the project, Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “This is good news for Scotland. The rollout of ultrafast broadband to so many more rural communities is vitally important, especially as we focus on recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Continued commercial build is an important part of the Reaching 100% Programme’s aim to provide access to superfast speeds for all premises.
“This focus on rural and hard-to-reach areas is exactly what I want to see and I look forward to hearing that these 300,000 addresses are connected.”
Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s strategic infrastructure director, added: “The impact of Full Fibre broadband – stretching from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness to higher employment and environmental benefits – will be a massive boost for Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses.
“In the meantime, people can also check what’s already available – which includes around 400,000 homes and businesses across Scotland that can already access full fibre on the Openreach network.”
Openreach recently announced an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1,000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2,500 jobs announced in December 2020 – of which 275 were in Scotland.
This means that by the end of 2021, Openreach will have created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles since 2017/18.