20th October 2018
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Moves towards greater broadband coverage

More than three quarters of Shetland premises could be connected to “superfast broadband” by next year, a meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee heard today.

Development director Neil Grant said 76 per cent is the projected target, with most of these premises having “next generation” broadband speeds greater than 24 Mbps. The Lerwick, Quarff and Sumburgh exchanges were connected last year in the first phase, the second phase is planned for this year and the third for 2016, which will take in all but the most remote locations.

The rollout of so-called superfast broadband is ahead of target, according to Mr Grant, and is progressing well, with the ultimate aim of 100 per cent coverage in Shetland.

The project is being carried out by Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) together with the council’s communication technology service and Shetland Telecom.

The meeting heard that Shetland Telecom, comprising two council staff, generated a turnover of around £500,000 in the current year, with £200,000 net income going back to the council.

However this may go down next year as oil and gas construction projects scale down.

The Shetland Telecom project fibre network connects from the Faroese Telecom subsea SHEFA 2 cable at Sandwick, and links Lerwick, Scalloway, Brae and Sellaness.
Community Broadband Scotland has been set up by the Scottish government and managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to help remote communities to get connected.

Meanwhile the government’s rollout of superfast broadband has reached two million more homes and businesses, figures published today reveal. Of these, more than 220,000 properties in Scotland are enjoying access to faster speeds, with attention turning to the hardest to reach areas.

The rollout is delivering superfast access – internet speeds greater than 24 Mbps – to those properties not covered by existing commercial networks and is on track to take superfast access to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017. The UK already leads the EU “big five” nations when it comes to superfast access and take-up and the programme will ensure it stays ahead.

The government’s £1.7bn investment in the rollout is part of its long term economic plan.

Around 80 per cent of the UK already has access to superfast speeds, and the rollout is currently reaching an additional 40,000 homes and businesses every week.

Secretary of state for Scotland Alistair Carmichael said: “Whether you live in one of our major cities or in one of our most remote communities, the UK government is working to ensure Scotland is at the heart of the UK’s digital transformation.

“From banking to government services, in everyday life we are using more and more services online and today’s announcement is proof the substantial investment by the UK government is making a difference to businesses and the lives of families and communities across Scotland.”

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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4 comments

  1. Colin Duncan

    The Lerwick exchange may have been connected but it still cannot supply “superfast broadband” to homes that are only 200 yards from it!!

    They can supply the old speed of broadband but I’ve got that already and really want to upgrade it

    All my phone calls and emails bring the same answer – “we’ll keep you updated” and then I hear nothing

    I’m sure I could run my own cable to the exchange if they’d let me!

    Reply
  2. John Telford

    It should be noted that it is premature to claim connection for Lerwick as many properties in the South end of the town are not connected as they are connected directly to the exchange and this apparently creates difficulties. I have been unable to ascertain a likely date for a connection.

    Reply
  3. John Lamont

    In this age what of the schools? Do all pupils and teachers have access to 24Mbps broadband? This is a fundamental necessity for youngsters in and around Shetland. Without this speed, and sustainable for many people simultaneously in school, young people will miss the greatest revolution happening today as they learn.

    I’m just a mainlander from the central belt, but high quality digital opportunities are a right for EVERY young person in Scotland. As Norway has shown and leads.

    Reply
  4. Aaron Smith

    Unless you’re getting super fast broadband in your house, i.e. fibre to the house not fibre to the cabinet, then what’s the point.

    Also good to see local folk at Shetland Telecom getting all this good work done. Let’s hope they dunna just roll ower and let BT scoop all the profits efter so many years of providing crap broadband throughout Shetland.

    Reply

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