Shetland should be chosen as one of the three areas in Britain to be covered by the high speed broadband testing project which will be pioneered by the UK government, according to isles MSP Tavish Scott.
He has written to UK secretary of state for culture Jeremy Hunt pointing out that Shetland is linked to the UK mainland through the Faroese broadband cable which comes ashore at Maywick and businesses would benefit hugely from faster connectivity.
He said: “Shetland would appear to be an idea location for one of the projects. It has the double advantage of a new fibre optic subsea cable link to the Scottish mainland, and a population living in a number of islands many of whom are currently out of reach of even moderate speed broadband.
“With roughly a third of the islands’ 22 000 population living in Lerwick and the remainder living across the islands in villages and out in the countryside, Shetland can offer an ideal test bed for high speed broadband and its impact on rural communities with varying levels of remoteness.
“The benefits of high speed broadband to those living or running businesses in Shetland would be considerable. These benefits would help to offset some of the problems which Shetland’s internal geography and its location, far to the north of the Scottish Mainland, creates.”
He said the competition to be one of the test areas would be keen, but the isles had a strong case. “I hope that the minister will give it the serious consideration it deserves.”