A new communications tower is planned for an old RAF base as part of a “significant investment” in replacing the coastguard radio network.
Talent Technology Services wants to develop a base station at Saxa Vord in Unst to help the coastguard “continue to save lives for years to come”.
The new network, which will be built and maintained by Telent Technology, will replace old copper telephone wiring, which is being withdrawn by BT, with modern fibre-based hybrid technology at each of the coastguard’s 155 remote radio sites.
New connection lines will also be added to improve the reliability of the radio network.
Part of the replacement network, including in Unst, will use microwave dish links where a fibre link is not viable.
The new network is to ensure the coastguard can continue communicating with ships in UK waters, advising on hazards and receiving distress alerts.
It will also support track shipping through automatic identification systems, which is said to present a “very significant national security risk”.
Other activities which the new network is said to support include supporting the launch of hundreds of charitably funded lifeboats to save lives and communicating with coastguard helicopters.
A decision is due by 1st September.