Lismore gets set for broadband upgrade

Build team on Lismore

Some of the fastest, most reliable broadband anywhere in the UK is heading to the island of Lismore, as work starts on a major digital upgrade through the Scottish Government’s £600m Reaching 100% (R100) programme.

The once-in-a-generation, full fibre broadband upgrade will let local people connect multiple devices to the internet at ultrafast speeds and help businesses to take advantage of online services and markets.

In a change from its usual process, R100 delivery partner Openreach is asking local people to highlight their demand as early as possible  – to help with delivering the island’s full fibre network.

Residents can register their details by checking their postcode (print link: openreach.co.uk/ultrafastfullfibre) and selecting the Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband - Keep me updated option.

Full fibre broadband provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity, with fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds up to a Gigabit per second; and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands.

The Scottish Government’s Innovation Minister, Richard Lochhead, said: “Future-proofed digital connectivity is vital for our island communities, and through the Scottish Government’s £600m R100 contracts we’re extending full fibre broadband access to some of the most challenging locations in Scotland.

“Building out to properties from the R100 subsea cable that was laid last year, the people of Lismore should expect to see a step-change in broadband speeds when they upgrade. I’d encourage everyone to engage early while Openreach engineers are working on the island.”

Robert Thorburn, partnership director for Openreach Scotland, said: “We’re really excited to be working on Lismore. Ultrafast broadband makes it much easier to do everything you want online and will be life-changing for islanders.

“Island builds are a big logistical challenge. We need to ship over all the right people and equipment for several months to deliver the network, and that’s why we’re keen to get local input into the build plan. If we know someone wants to upgrade to a full fibre service, it makes sense to provide their connection at an early stage, during the build, when we have fibre engineers available on the island.

“Providing your details doesn’t commit you to placing an order or taking a service, but it will help us deliver connections quickly to those who want to upgrade. 

“We’re testing this new approach on Lismore, with fantastic support from Lismore Community Council, and we expect to replicate it for other island communities in the R100 programme, like Colonsay and Mull.”

The R100 build on Lismore is an ongoing major infrastructure upgrade, so local people will be seeing more engineering teams, equipment and vans on the ground. Wherever possible, Openreach is using its existing network of ducts and poles to avoid roadworks, new street furniture and disturbance.

The first properties on the island are due to be able to connect to the new full fibre network later this year, when they’ll be able to order services through any of the service providers – such as Sky, BT, Vodafone, Zen and TalkTalk – who use the Openreach network.