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Community / Progress in bringing fibre broadband to Fair Isle

Fair Isle
Fair Isle from the sky.

FIBRE broadband on the UK’s most geographically remote inhabited island has moved a step closer after a planning application was submitted for the installation work.

The cable will be laid to Fair Isle as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to bring speeds of 30Mbps to every premises in the country.

It will run to the island’s North Haven, and initial works are planned to take place in December/January.

Subsea cables are also being proposed for Whalsay, Unst and Yell.

It was only in 2018 that guaranteed, round the clock electricity was introduced in Fair Isle, which has a population of around 50.

The following year 4G mobile data was switched on there, giving residents much faster speeds.

But fibre broadband should see Fair Isle surf the internet more quickly, and not restrict those without mobile data.

Some Fair Isle residents have had satellite broadband, but its cost has been off-putting for some.

The Scottish Government is planning 16 subsea fibre cables in total across island communities as part of the R100 broadband programme.

However, it was confirmed earlier this month that around 1,600 properties in Shetland will have to rely on a voucher scheme to access superfast broadband because they will be out of reach of the main R100 scheme.

Meanwhile a Shetland Islands Council application to the UK Government for funding worth up to £25 million for a new Fair Isle ferry remains under consideration.

Transport manager Michael Craigie said the local authority is awaiting a decision this autumn.