Shetland Islands Council is planning to increase the broadband capability of the islands’ public sector buildings with a £1.9 million award from the Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund.
It said the money, which comes from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will provide for the installation of a network of full fibre connections between public sector premises across Yell and Unst over the next 12 months.
This will include council buildings, schools, care centres and NHS Shetland premises.
The council said it will open up the potential for video linked working such as online learning and telemedicine.
The project will be aligned with the Scottish Government Reaching 100% (R100) Programme, which is aimed at extending access to superfast broadband.
Providing the core infrastructure to public sector buildings will involve the creation of hubs that can be used to extend connectivity to homes and businesses in the areas.
The network route is currently being finalised, but the council said it will take the existing network from Graven to Mossbank and Toft to Yell and Unst. There are also hopes it could connect to Fetlar in the future.
A procurement for the tender should get underway soon with the aim of beginning work during the summer and completing it by early next year.
Alastair Cooper, chair of the council’s development committee said: “This is good news for the North Isles, who have historically suffered from poor broadband and connectivity, while other parts of Shetland have seen upgrades.
“This is a positive improvement for public services in Yell and Unst, which lays a foundation of connectivity that can be extended to domestic and business premises in the future. We hope that the R100 initiative will help deliver domestic and business connectivity in the near future too.
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