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Shetland residents get lottery help for wireless broadband boost

Internet users in the Shetland Isles, tired of poor broadband speeds, have taken matters into their own hands and upgraded their connections across the island.

The tiny community in West Burrafirth in the Shetland Islands – just seven homes – will see broadband speeds jump from 0.16Mbps to 25Mbps using a new wireless and fibre optic link. 

The local ISP, Shetland Broadband, and a grant of £9,700 from the National Lottery, supported the scheme. It makes use of a formerly redundant 30-year old TV mast located on top of a hill at Engamoor.

Photo credit: Shetland Broadband

Read more from Recombu Digital about Scottish Highlands & Islands BroadbandThe wireless link is powered by a wind turbine and connects via two microwave antennas back to Shurton Hill, 15 miles away near Lerwick, and from there the connection links into Shetland Telecom’s fibre optic network and into the undersea SHEFA2 cable, owned by Faeroese Telecom, to the internet worldwide. The connection has now been up and running nearly two weeks.

John White of the West Burrafirth Community Broadband Group told the Shetland Times: “We are really pleased that we have been able to get the funding and infrastructure in place to ensure our community can access superfast broadband speeds. Shetland Broadband has been invaluable with [its] expertise in making this project a reality.”

Shetland Broadband is now considering whether the scheme could be duplicated on other remote parts of the islands that have line of sight to its primary fibre optic hubs.

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