Monday 24 June 2024
 12.2°C   S Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Connectivity / Papa Stour set to receive two sources of high-speed broadband

Photo: Shetland News

THE UK Government confirmed plans to provide high-speed broadband via satellite to Papa Stour yesterday (Monday) – but BT is also looking to deliver connectivity later in the year.

Technology minister John Whittingdale announced at London Tech Week that the connection will be available in Papa Stour within a matter of days.

Work installing a specialist panel began yesterday and is expected to be finished and connected to a low earth orbit satellite by the end of the week.

Engineers installing the mount for the satellite comms panel. Photo: Clarus

Whittingdale said on Monday: “Our announcements today will help ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to high-speed broadband and other digital services that they need to thrive in the 21st century.

“Improving Papa Stour’s connectivity is a major milestone in our efforts to close the digital divide as it transforms the lives of the island’s residents and visitors.”

There are currently seven permanent residents on the island but additionally several people who live on the mainland have crofts in Papa Stour.

Visitors could also benefit from the connection.

John Anderson from East Burrafirth regularly does boat tours to the isle.

He welcomes the broadband plans, saying: “It’s a great idea, it might attract new blood to Papa Stour…good quality broadband, it might give a new lease of life, people could come to Papa Stour and work from home.”

One of the island’s full-time residents, Andy Holt, thinks the connection will be “worthwhile” but that more needs to be done to encourage people to live there.

“I think it’ll be handy for residents and probably marginally beneficial for tourists because I gather it’s also going to be in the waiting room to begin as well as the school,” he said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“More importantly, will it be an attraction for younger people to want to move here? I think it would probably require more than just stepped-up broadband.”

Engineers installing OneWeb’s satellite comms panel, marking Europe’s first commercial deployment. Photo: Clarus

However, it is not the only high-speed connection set to come to Papa Stour.

Walls and Sandness community councillor Jane Puckey told Shetland News:

“British Telecom have already done a survey in Papa Stour and are looking to put appropriate antenna on the BT mast to provide a radio link to the fibre optic cable in Sandness. Their aim is for residents to be connected in the autumn of this year.

“At the same time the government is funding a scheme whereby high-speed broadband will be provided to Papa Stour via low earth orbit satellites. Installation of this scheme is taking place in Papa Stour this week.

“Once both these schemes are in place folk in the isle will not only benefit from high-speed broadband connection but they will also have choice of provider, BT or OneWeb.”

A BT spokesperson confirmed to Shetland News that the company’s plans are still going ahead.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has been approached for comment.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.