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Shetland targets 90% super-fast broadband coverage

Friday, June 24th 2011
The local council is keen to improve on the existing broadband services provided by BT and Cable & Wireless.
Shetland targets 90% super-fast broadband coverage
The Shetland Islands Council (SIC) has given the green light to plans to improve local broadband infrastructure after claiming the private sector has failed to bring a quality internet service to the area.

Under the Digital Shetland strategy, the administration is looking to deploy fibre optic broadband to 80 per cent of communities by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

By the same time, it wants nine in ten residents to be able to access super-fast broadband with speeds of more than 25Mbps.

According to the council, the move is necessary because the infrastructure offered by BT and Cable & Wireless (C&W) - the companies responsible for supplying broadband to the majority of homes, businesses and public bodies in Shetland - is not of a high enough standard to fulfil the future needs of the islands.

A statement for the strategy claimed the C&W network "does not have the longevity needed to deliver for the future needs of Shetland", while BT "is not delivering the services people and businesses need".

It added: "As things stand today, there is fundamental failure to deliver services in Shetland that are reliable, resilient and fit for the 21st century."

To put an end to this issue, SIC is planning to install a backbone network that will extend from Lerwick to Shetland's rural and remote communities. This infrastructure will need to be fibre optic-based if it is to deliver the service that the islands require over the coming decades, the council explained.

Work began on connecting Shetland to Faroese Telecom's subsea fibre optic cable - which comes ashore at Sandwick - back in January, with the initial phase of the project involving Lerwick being hooked up.

Once this has been finished, a second subsea connection will be made via the west coast community of Scalloway.

At the time, Shetland Islands councillor Alistair Cooper said: "Innovative technology is crucial to the future economic health and wellbeing of Shetland." 

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