Local SNP MP Angus MacNeil is delighted to hear that capacity for connections to the new superfast fibre broadband service in Stornoway are being increased as the service is proving so popular.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have confirmed that engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network division,will be working to extend the service from all 11 of the town’s live cabinets to allow more customers to access the service.

This comes as a funding package of almost £18 million was announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP today (Tuesday) to accelerate the roll out programme across the Highlands and Islands.

Mr MacNeil said this was a positive development although he would continue to monitor the roll out of the programme to other areas of Na h-Eileanan an Iar which is scheduled for next year.

Some businesses and residents in Stornoway have reported problems in accessing the service particularly in cases where the connection is Exchange Only (EO). It is understood BT is working to provide those connections by the end of the year.

Mr MacNeil said: “Connectivity is one of the most common topics on which I am contacted by my constituents across Na h-Eileanan an Iar, so this latest development to increase capacity is very welcome indeed.

“High-speed broadband is critical in growing and maintaining the competitiveness of areas like Na h-Eileanan an Iar to ensure that our businesses can compete and residents can access digital services.
“Poor broadband coverage is a handicap for many local businesses in our islands and I do appreciate there are still some harder to reach communities – I will continue to press BT to see if there are ways of getting even more people access to high-speed data connections.”

The roll-out of fibre broadband in Stornoway and across the Outer Hebrides is being delivered through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project. The £146m region wide roll-out which will see the majority of premises across the Outer Hebrides better connected by the end of 2016.

The project is being led in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), with work on the ground being carried out by Openreach.  Funding is coming from the Scottish Government and the UK Government as well as HIE and BT.