I was delighted to hear that the new West Burrafirth broadband network is about to go live.
West Burrafirth is a small community on the west side of Shetland. It is beyond the reaches of BT ADSL and with no likely chance of them being provided with a better solution, the community got together and built their own broadband network.
They raised funds themselves and received some grant funding from the lottery to deploy their own microwave backhaul from West Burrafirth to Lerwick. The microwave links in to Shetland Broadband’s network which uses the Shetland Telecom PoP for internet connectivity. The residents of West Burrafirth use small boxes on the side of their houses to wirelessly connect to the local network.
I’ve not heard what connection speeds they are getting in the current test phase but Ian at Shetland Broadband is guessing that it should be about 25Mbps which means they will have the fastest domestic internet connections in Shetland. However, being the fastest was not the incentive for the community to work together to get good broadband.
The people of West Burrafirth realised that without broadband their community was going to struggle to remain viable. In order to sustain modern life in the remote areas you need a broadband service which is going to work for business and family. Businesses in the area can now engage with customers and using services such as video communication and they can do their banking online. People who had the 45 minute drive to Lerwick each day to can now work from home. The bairns can finally do their homework research online. Families can now finally speak to auld auntie Betty in New Zealand on Skype.....etc...etc..
The fine folk of West Burrafirth now have access to a broadband service which will allow them to work, rest and play using the internet. Well done to everybody involved.
My views are my own.