Work on carving out a superfast broadband cable in the Shetland is ready to begin. According to the Shetland Times the Shetland Islands Council (SIC) decided to make its own £1.1 million investment to hook up to the North Atlantic submarine cable “SHEFA-2” from Faroese Telecom (see SHEFA), having become fed up with the inertia of telecoms giant BT. The company’s existing microwave link is slow and frequently disrupted, causing major frustration.
The revolutionary technique being employed is according to Shetland Telecom’s Guy Smith around five times cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods. Tulloch Developments invested £55,000 in the American Ditch Witch technology, the only machine of its kind in the UK. It is essentially a mini tractor with a circular saw attached which slices through the road surface. It is hoped the fibre optic network (100Mbps) will transform communications between Shetland and the wider world and help attract new businesses to the isles.
Already some businesses such as Dingwall-based Alchemy Plus hope to benefit from the local authority investment. The Highland business plans to build a £12 million green data center in Lerwick, but needs a high speed link to realise its plans. (see earlier blog Greetings from Lerwick, Shetlands)