There’s no doubt that parts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands have been neglected when it comes to broadband infrastructure. While the cities and towns worry about not getting the best 4G signal, more remote areas can face speeds that are many years behind what is currently considered normal, let along high speed.
But the good news is that things are improving. One reason for this is the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project. This has already seen hundreds of towns and villages across the Highlands and Islands access fibre optic broadband to similar levels to other parts of the UK.
The plan for 2018 was to reach 86% of premises in the area and the target was largely reached. This is an improvement from just 4% of properties in 2013 and means many homes and businesses can now get faster broadband speeds. There are some issues for areas with great distance from the nearest hubs, but the Scottish government is aiming for 100% superfast coverage by 2021. So even the remotest areas can expect to have a fast and reliable internet connection in the near future.
Mobile phones speeds are also a little behind other parts of the UK but are improving. At the end of 2018, only one in five residents could get 4G services and some areas had no reliable outdoor signal at all. However, there is work taking place to make it easier and cheaper to install mobile masts and therefore extend the 4G network alongside the superfast broadband rollout.
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