Wednesday, 9 December 2009


News Release - for immediate use
9 December 2009

ATTN: News desks

Speaking ahead of his contribution in this evening's Holyrood debate on Broadband for Rural Scotland, Highlands & Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson welcomed a much-needed broadband boost for rural communities.

Today the Scottish Government announced an upgrade of 71 telephone exchanges to improve online services.

Due to high broadband take-up, a number of telephone exchanges in rural areas of Scotland have not been able to accommodate new users because of capacity constraints. Today's announcement will go a long way in relieving that strain.

Commenting, Rob Gibson said:

"I am very pleased to see a number of small settlements throughout the Highlands, in particular Durness, the Craigs, Gillock, Lyth, Tongue, Berriedale, Kinbrace, Rosehall, Scourie, Westerdale, Achiltibuie and North Erradale, as well as many throughout the Islands, have been identified for upgrade.

"At the beginning of this year I issued an eye opening report on the findings of a broadband consultation I conducted throughout my constituency. The numbers of hard pressed families and businesses operating with inadequate speeds and provisions, or even no internet at all, is simply insufferable in today's modern age.

"Upgrades in these acutely identified areas will go some way in improving the situation, though the job of increasing capacity, reach and speed in Scotland's rural areas is still far from finished and requires BT to offer equal access as enjoyed by city dwellers.



Copy of Rob Gibson's Broadband Consultation report attached.

Background: The Scottish Government announced in September that it was working with BT to agree an upgrade programme by looking at areas most in need. Following completion of this work, BT has already started work on the upgrade programme and expects the first upgrades to be operational by March. The exchanges to be upgraded are:

Argyll and the Islands - Coll, Colonsay, Gigha, Jura, Pirnmill, Kilchattan Bay, Kilfinan, Machrie, Pennyghael, Sliddery, Whitehouse

Ayrshire - Craigie, Straiton

Caithness and Sutherland - The Craigs, Durness, Gillock, Lyth, Tongue, Berriedale, Kinbrace, Rosehall, Scourie, Westerdale

Dumfries and Galloway - Bargrennan, Durisdeer, Marrburn

Forth Valley - Inversnaid, Trossachs

Inverness and East Highland - Advie, Glenferness, Laggan, Scatwell

Lanarkshire - Elvanfoot

Lochaber - Ardgour, Glenborrodale

Lothian - Garvald

Moray - Drummuir, Mulben

Orkney - Birsay, Hoy, Papa Westray

Renfrewshire - Loganswell

Scottish Borders - Grantshouse, Longformacus, Abbey St Bathans, Borthwickbrae, Lempitlaw, Stobo

Shetland - Burravoe, Fetlar, Gutcher, Fair Isle, Out Skerries

Skye and Wester Ross - Achiltibuie, Duntulm, Kinlochewe, Staffin, Uig, Killilan, Loch Scavaig, North Erradale, Tarskavaig

Tayside - Strathardle, Amulree, Bridge of Balgie, Bridge of Gaur, Butterstone, Trochry, Tummelbridge, Fern and Menmuir

For further information on the upgrade, see:

1 comment:

hisnameisrob said...

It has to be good news that these exchanges are receiving an upgrade but none of the reports so far has stated the nature of the upgrade. It would be very disappointing - and a missed opportunity - if it is merely a capacity upgrade making it possible for more households to receive the poor(512kb) broadband service offered by "Exchange Activate".