Fibre-optic broadband service goes live

Lerwick has been switched on to faster broadband after telecoms company BT went live with its service through Shetland’s council-sponsored fibre-optic cable.

BT said its £8 million transmission link from the Northern Isles to Inverness meant download speeds of up to 20 megabits per second for domestic customers, which is more than double the speed the firm has offered previously.

The link also brings a faster and cheaper global ethernet network for businesses and public sector organisations, offering guaranteed connections of up to 10 gigabits per second.

The company said individual internet service providers seeking to move to the faster service would move their customers during January, February and March.

BT said all broadband users in Shetland would benefit from a more resilient service as well as the faster speeds to and from Lerwick.  However, it intends keeping the unreliable microwave radio link to Shetland as a back-up for use in the event of a failure of the new system.

BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said it was “a great, early Christmas present for Lerwick” and towns on the mainland which can connect in. Connecting the fibre link had only been planned for early in the New Year.

Mr Dick said: “BT’s continuing commitment to the Highlands and Islands is evident through the investment of £8 million in the new, north fibre route and I’m delighted that we’ve joined up the links in the chain significantly ahead of schedule.

“The arrival of ethernet in Lerwick will deliver a huge boost for local businesses and public sector organisations and I’m certain it will deliver big benefits to the local economy.”

The announcement of an early connection was welcomed by Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael. He said: “Clearly there is a long way to go before everyone in Orkney and Shetland gets the sort of connection speeds enjoyed by people in other areas of the country but this is good news for the Isles.

“It is people in areas like Orkney and Shetland who stand to benefit the most from improvements in digital services but all too often we have been at the back of the queue when new technologies are being rolled out.”


Add Your Comment
  • Tommy Tate

    • December 21st, 2012 18:23

    B.T. Doe’s NOT use the S.I.C fibre cable, they have their own. 90% of the Shetland exchanges are linked to Lerwick with B.T fibre,
    Why the S.I.C is wasting money puting in more is anyones guess, although we all know they are damn good at that.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.