The Ministry of Defence are to connect 12 businesses and 22 houses in the Applecross area to their own fibre optic broadband network.
Two weeks ago, the Free Press reported that Scottish and Southern Energy are to lay the cable over Bealach na Ba for an unnamed third party, later revealed as the MoD, who are in the process of upgrading the infrastructure at the Raasay Range control room at Sand. The work is due to start on 9th April and will cause serious disruption to the main access road to Applecross for several weeks.
Local MP Ian Blackford wrote to range operators QinetiQ, urging them to include the local community in their broadband plans.
This week, the MoD confirmed that the new fibre optic cable will be used to connect 22 local homes and 12 businesses.
A spokesman added: “We always take wider communities into account surrounding our estates and maintain close engagement on all matters. £20,000 has been donated to the local Applecross community to recognise any disruption caused by ongoing work, we are improving connectivity for a number of firms and households and we are upgrading the wider broadband infrastructure.
“The investment MoD is making in the upgraded infrastructure will allow SSE to become a competitor to BT for future broadband services and therefore all incentivised pricing, rather than a monopoly.”
Mr Blackford welcomed the announcement. He said: “I am delighted they have decided to connect the community. It was ridiculous that they were going to come so close and not take the logical next step. Good broadford is vital for businesses and local residents. I wrote to QinetiQ and SSE recently and I am delighted they have decided to do the sensible thing, when they were going to disrupt road access anyway.”