THE COMMUNITY in Fair Isle is one step closer to become the first remote island to be connected to "superfast" broadband after receiving almost a quarter of a million pounds from Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).
Fair Isle Broadband Company (FIBC), a community enterprise formed to bring broadband to the island's 33 properties, is spearheading the project.
The approach could be seen as a blueprint for remote communities seeking to gain access to superfast broadband.
Next generation broadband is currently rolled out across the Highlands and Islands area but 24 per cent of Shetland's remotest household will not be covered by the £146 million project.
The funding now approved for Fair Isle will deliver broadband speeds in excess of 30mbps.
Brian Smith of FIBC said he was delighted that the project was moving to the next stage.
"This will utterly transform the lives of the people who live here, from those running their own businesses, to our local school, our public services and to the tourists who visit," he said.
"I also believe this project will help make Fair Isle a more attractive place to live and help turn around the decline in population bring about a more sustainable and connected community."
CBS director Zoe Laird added that the project would be challenging given its location and geography.
"Where there is a will, there is way and if we can do it on Fair Isle, we can do it anywhere," she said.
"Our job is to support communities, like Fair Isle, who will not be reached by the main roll-out of superfast broadband and our team of advisers throughout Scotland work to ensure there is no digital divide.
"If your community will not be covered by the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out don't hesitate to contact Community Broadband Scotland - we are here to help."
Community Broadband Scotland can be contacted on its helpline 0800 9173688 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org