A small island off the coast of Northern Ireland is set to use a form of wireless broadband to provide fibre-like download speeds to the tiny community.
Rathlin Island lies of the coast of County Antrim and is home to around 100 people. BT has announced it will trial an experimental ‘wireless to the cabinet’ broadband system.
The new system, which will be a first for anywhere in the UK or Ireland, is expected to provide speeds of up to 80Mbps, far in excess of current broadband speeds on the island. Until now, broadband speeds on Rathlin have been limited by the difficulty in providing a high speed link to the island.
The system will operate by deploying a newly developed radio solution linking the Ballycastle exchange on the mainland with the Rathlin island exchange. This is then integrated into the next generation high-speed fibre broadband architecture, which provides a ‘fibre-like’ capacity directly to a street cabinet on Rathlin.
This system will be trialled for six months with a number of households and businesses on the island, and if successful, the system will be rolled out to the majority of premises on the island.
Frank McManus, head of wholesale sales and services in BT said: “We have been exploring innovative ways to deliver high speed broadband capability to Rathlin for some time, so we are very excited to announce the launch of this technology trial. This is a first for the UK and Ireland and will enable residents on the island to enjoy similar fibre broadband speeds as those available to businesses and households across Northern Ireland.”