Media Release: Faster broadband coming to Lerwick, thanks to BT’s new £8million fibre cable

THE Shetland capital of Lerwick has an early Christmas present – access to faster broadband speeds and the global Ethernet business network after being hooked up to BT’s new £8 million fibre transmission link which runs from the Northern Isles to Inverness..

Homes and businesses along the route through Alness, Dingwall, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Tain and Thurso are already able to benefit from faster broadband over copper lines as part of the roll-out of BT’s next generation broadband service.

BT’s investment will deliver consumer broadband download speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than double the fastest speed previously available from BT. Internet service providers seeking to move to the faster service will migrate their customers during January, February and March.

As well as bringing faster speeds to Lerwick, the new link will carry broadband traffic between Shetland and the mainland, bringing improvements in broadband service resilience for all users across the islands. The existing microwave radio links that serve Shetland will be retained as back-up.

Lerwick has also been upgraded to the latest generation Ethernet network which offers large businesses, SMEs and public sector organisations major improvements in communications at the same time as significantly reducing costs. It follows the rollout of Ethernet at Dingwall, Kirkwall, Tain and Thurso.

The project has involved building one of the longest optical transmissions systems in the UK using almost 1000km of fibre cable, including 400km subsea. Innovative design work was commissioned to cater for the distances involved and to enhance the remote maintenance and service of the equipment. Specialist equipment had to be installed at 20 different sites along the route of the new link.

Brendan Dick, director, BT Scotland, said: “This is a great, early Christmas present for Lerwick and the mainland towns as we originally planned to connect the fibre link early in the New Year. BT’s continuing commitment to the Highlands and Islands is evident through the investment of £8 million in the new, north fibre route and I’m delighted that we’ve joined up the links in the chain significantly ahead of schedule.

“The arrival of Ethernet in Lerwick will deliver a huge boost for local businesses and public sector organisations and I’m certain it will deliver big benefits to the local economy. The new cable will also play a major role in any future deployment of fibre broadband and even higher speeds in the north of Scotland.”

Faster broadband over copper is already available to more than 1.5 million Scottish premises and, by next spring, around 73 per cent of homes and businesses in Scotland will be served by an exchange which has been upgraded to deliver these higher speeds.

Both new services are available on an open, wholesale basis to all communications companies providing broadband and/or business services.

The new Ethernet network makes it possible for businesses to opt for a choice of guaranteed broadband speeds over a dedicated line and across multiple sites.

Customers can choose Ethernet speeds between 1 Mbps and 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) to suit their needs and, at the top rate of 10Gbps, the system is capable of transmitting 10 billion bits of information per second.

The service is available at a fraction of the cost of a comparable one provided previously by a similar, traditional private network.

Businesses and organisations using voice, data, video and other bandwidth-hungry applications across more than one site are the most likely users. The highly flexible system can be easily expanded as a business or organisation grows.

It is also being used by many mobile phone operators to address the explosive growth in demand for mobile data services across the UK.

For further information about this news release please contact Mitch Reid or Anna Steven in the BT Scotland press office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be read at

Note to Editors

Once an exchange area has been upgraded for next generation broadband, some service providers automatically upgrade their customers to the enhanced broadband service. People should contact their chosen service provider for more information about the products and services they offer

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

BT was the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and helped to deliver the most connected Games ever. BT is supporting the British Paralympic Association all the way to the Rio Games in 2016.

In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group’s revenue was £18,897m with profit before taxation of £2,445m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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Contact: Mitch Reid
Phone: 08000850660