Community / Work on bringing fibre broadband cables to islands could get underway in April

An aerial view of Whalsay. Photo: Ivan Reid

WORK on installing subsea fibre broadband cables to some of Shetland’s islands is expected to get underway in the coming months.

More details of the project are included in marine licence applications which have now been submitted for cables which would bring fibre broadband to Yell, Unst, Whalsay and Fair Isle.


It falls under the Scottish Government’s R100 programme, which aims to bring high speed broadband to all properties in the country.

Each cable has a proposed start date of 1 April next year, with completion anticipated to be the end of 2023.

A subsea cable will run between Mossbank and Yell, with another reaching from Gutcher to the Wick of Belmont in Unst.

The scheme is separate to the fibre broadband link already laid to the North Isles to provide better connectivity to public sector buildings.

The Whalsay cable will run between Levaneap on the Shetland mainland and Symbister.


Cables are also planned between Sanday in Orkney and Sumburgh, with a link to Fair Isle connecting from that cable.

It is fair to say connecting the islands does come at a cost. The bill for the Fair Isle link will amount to around £2.2 million, while Shetland to Sanday is not too far behind in price.

The Yell to Unst cable will cost just over £1 million, while the Whalsay and mainland to Yell cables are estimated at around £800,000 each.

The government is proposing to install a total of 16 cables across the Scottish islands under the R100 programme, with seven planned for Orkney and four in the Western Isles.