Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie has welcomed the recent
announcement from BT that it is to upgrade the copper network that
presently connects 2.5 million internet subscribers in rural homes
across the UK. This is a move that should result in substantial
improvements in broadband performance that is set to deliver speedier
services to those affected at as much as twice existing speeds for many

Mike MacKenzie said: "Broadband speeds have been improving dramatically for most urban based
users in recent years but those who live in rural areas have often found
that the response times that they operate with are considerably slower
than the norm and this means that both for business and recreational use
they are operating at a distinct disadvantage. One of the principle
stated benefits of efficient IT operation is that the "playing field"
across the country is level and any move that will help to remove the
disadvantages presently encountered by rural users across the Highlands
and Islands, where broadband speed is notoriously patchy, is to be
warmly welcomed.

The copper upgrade to the network will result in significant improvement
in operating speeds for many more users but in those areas where it has
not yet proved economic to upgrade their infrastructure because of
population sparcity or rurality subscribers will find that they are
falling even further behind the new levels available elsewhere. In such
areas BT is working with mobile phone companies, software operators and
satellite service providers to develop other means of mobile technology
to deliver improved broadband speeds

BT hope to complete this exercise early in 2013 and it will be
interesting to see what effect that this has on broadband communications
within the Highlands and Islands."