Work to provide Raigmore Hospital with improved internet access has been resumed after being put on hold at the start of lockdown.
CityFibre is extending its network to connect 152 public sector sites across the north with full-fibre broadband, and NHS sites are now being prioritised at the government’s instruction.
Ground works at the Inverness hospital began in autumn last year but were stopped at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now with an increasing need for reliable and fast internet connection at hospitals, the work has been restarted.
Allan McEwan, CityFibre’s city manager for Inverness, said: “This project is all about future-proofing and transforming public services across the Highlands.
“The last few weeks have underlined the vital role these services play in all our lives and it is so important that they have the digital infrastructure they need to deliver the best possible levels of service to everyone in the community.”
A series of additional measures will remain in place in adherence with social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of local contractors GCU UK Ltd, as engineers carry out the construction work.
Mr McEwan added: “The infrastructure we are building has been classed as critical and that has allowed our construction teams to restart activity following a brief hiatus.
“Of course, all construction crews will be following social distancing protocols that are designed to protect themselves and people in the community.
“Appropriate PPE will also be used to help them carry out these essential works.”
Schools, colleges, libraries, offices, hospitals and health centres across Inverness, Fort William, Thurso and Wick will all eventually benefit from the £7.5 million project.
Some public buildings are already benefiting from the improved connection speeds in Wick and Thurso, with the remainder due to be connected this year and next.
The initiative has been made possible through collaborations with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the University of Highlands and Islands, NHS Highland, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport.
Edward Mountain MSP said: “Connectivity is more important than ever and I welcome that our hospitals, schools and libraries will soon receive full-fibre broadband now that work has resumed on critical infrastructure.
“Many homes and businesses across the Highlands still need to be brought up to speed too.”