The Community Council has been pursuing the delayed implementation of fibre broadband on the Berriedale exchange. After contacting Rhoda Grant, an MSP who has concerns about broadband in the Highlands, the initial feedback was that the first premises in this exchange area could have expected to receive fibre broadband between July and December 2019. However, due to the current roadworks at Berriedale Braes, there are indications that this could be further delayed into 2020.
Funded by the UK and Scottish Governments, this upgrade is part of the £146 million Next Generation Broadband project for the Highlands and Islands. The project aims to connect 90% of premises in the area with super fast broadband, from a starting point of 21% without this additional investment.
Nick Scroggie, HIE’s Next Generation Broadband Project Compliance Manager, is in overall charge of the roll-out. In responding to the enquiry about the delay to work on the Berriedale exchange, Mr Scroggie highlighted that due to the dispersed nature of the premises in the area, new fibre cabinets would not offer the best value for money for the upgrade.
Instead, it is proposed to connect the majority of the properties by running fibre directly from the exchange to the premises (i.e. FTTP, or Fibre to the Property), rather than through a fibre cabinet. Nick Scroggie’s response went on to note “This delivery method is more difficult, and is therefore higher risk, and does require more planning and work on the ground. However, work on this is ongoing, and we are hopeful that it should be completed later in the year, with the first premises able to order in the summer”.
Deployment in this exchange is being managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Check the HIE website for further updates to see when it will be available to order, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.