Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / The moon but not Unst

In response to the news from last week’s digital forum (More broadband upgrades in the pipeline; SN, 23/02/18) and Tuesday’s news in the national media (Vodafone to install 4G network in the moon), perhaps Tavish Scott, EE/BT, HIE, and Stuart Robertson’s R100 team might like explain to us terrestrials why Vodafone will be able to deliver 4G speeds to the moon (yes that’s right, the moon!) next year, before the afore-mentioned digital forum presenters can even agree on how they might reach the North Isles of Shetland with ‘super-fast’ broadband?

Duncan Nisbet of the Scottish Government’s R100 programme was reported in the Shetland News to have said, “that last bit is going to be so expensive to address because it is the real hardest-to-reach, most remote places that we’ve got left”.” – Really?!

Perhaps he (and the rest of those who have so far failed to deliver anything like broadband – never mind super-fast – to the north isles) should go and speak to Vodafone Germany chief exec, Hannes Ametsreiter, for some inspiration, who was reported in The Register to have said: “This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure.”

I look forward to hearing the digital forum presenters’ respective justifications (via the damp piece of string BT have kindly operate for my ‘broadband’ access) on how it seems easier, quicker (and no doubt cheaper) to supply 4G broadband speeds to the moon, than to the North Isles of Shetland.

Indeed, the reported budget for supplying next generation broadband speeds to the remaining terrestrial 9 per cent of Scotland is some £600m, whilst the Financial Times (behind a paywall) reports the lunar 4G project will “..run to the tens of millions of dollars” – an order of magnitude lower.

I ask you, is it the 1st of April already?

Ross Gazey