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Connectivity / Council to undertake review of Shetland Telecom

A REVIEW of Shetland Telecom is to be carried out amid concern there is a “lack of clarity” around its purpose.

Members of Shetland Islands Council’s development committee agreed the move at a meeting on Monday.

The organisation, which is part of Shetland Islands Council, was established around 2010 to deploy a local fibre broadband network.

That work has since formally ended but Shetland Telecom has continued with individual projects, including the installation of a new fibre network in the North Isles.

But a recent internal audit check found that Shetland Telecom was lacking a formal strategy.

Members of Shetland Islands Council’s audit committee were updated on that report at a meeting in November, with one member saying he felt there was a need for Shetland Telecom in the roll-out of super fast broadband to hard to reach areas.

Digital divide has increased, councillor warns

Across a number of design and implementation phases the fibre optic  network developed by the telecom organisation has provided various areas of Shetland with high speed data connections utilised by the public and private sectors, and local communities.

The network also provides a wholesale market to telecom companies selling to the local private sector. It is estimated that these activities will generate an income of £460,000 in 2023/24.

The previous audit of Shetland Telecom suggested there is a reputational risk from a lack of clarity surrounding its purpose and authority.

During debate in Monday’s meeting councillors spoke up for the idea of the telecoms team helping the further roll-out of broadband in Shetland.

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