The plight of broadband users in North Tolsta – highlighted on welovestornoway.com yesterday – has brought a swift response from British Telecom and Highlands and islands Enterprise who are providing superfast fibre broadband in the Outer Hebrides.
This came after Connected Communities customers in North Tolsta were contacted by Hebrides.net to advise them that their current service would very soon be unavailable.
This is because the old school at Aird in Point is unsafe and is being demolished, and the equipment which delivers the main connection to Tolsta is located there. Without the building to host the equipment and the associated power supply, the equipment would not be able to continue serving the North Tolsta area.
And it was feared there could be a six-month gap to when BT Broadband became available.
The good news is that the fibre-based broadband which is being rolled out across the Outer Hebrides is running ahead of schedule and is set to go live for North Tolsta within weeks.
A spokesperson for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out, said: "Given the circumstances, we are trying to get it ready as quickly as possible, and hope that customers will be able to order in early January."
It was initially thought the demolition of the school would take place in early February but following discussions with the Council and to allow some time for customers to order alternative services, this is being postponed. The Connected Communities service will now be available until the end of February.
In North Tolsta itself, it is understood that there are two broadband cabinets which are almost ready. Installers Openreach need to do final tests and then BT will be able to take orders.
This weekend a leaflet will go to people in the area to let them know to watch the online checker www.hie.co.uk/whereandwhen which will tell them when they can order. The spokesperson warned that the text of leaflet will still refer to six months as the scheduled time but it will happen far sooner.
And other ISPs will be available to order broadband from if people so choose - people can check Uswitch or whatever site they wish to use.
It’s understood that when Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband discovered the school’s demolition was needed, they were able to help push this development forward and that BT's Openreach staff have been really supportive as well.