Better connectivity by 2017
Broadband and mobile services across Shetland are set to improve with a funding boost for work on new cabinets and new masts.
At present, more than 6,000 premises or 44 per cent, in Shetland are accessing fibre broadband but this number will be increased by the end of 2017. Around 50 per cent currently have “fibre-based” broadband.
In the next four months, work on nine cabinets including Brae and Bressay, would begin, according to director of digital Highlands and Island Stuart Robertson, speaking at a digital forum in Islesburgh on Saturday.
Between April and June, the areas of Bigton, Bixter, Whiteness and west Burra will be worked on, as well as 500 premises around Sullom Voe, Voe, Vidlin and Trondra.
Work on Symbister is awaiting planning permission, and the areas of North Roe, Ollaberry and Skellister are “under review”, but can expect improvement.
The mobile network EE, which has now merged with BT, has an obligation to cover 90 per cent of the UK landmass by 2017.
EE senior public affairs manager Alex Jackman said the existing 2G and 3G sites in the isles would be “refreshed” this summer and 15 new sites for mobile phone masts carrying 4G had been sought to fill the “holes” in coverage.
Landlords in these areas had been “positive” about the development, now in the planning stage. The masts would be built in the first half of 2017. Mr Jackman said 4G would be “transformative” for the isles, and he expected other mobile providers to follow EE’s lead.
EE also has the Home Office contract for the emergency services.