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17 BT Fibre Broadband FTTC Cabinets Go LIVE on the Shetland Islands

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 (2:28 pm) - Score 1,766

Residents of the remote Shetland Islands community will be pleased to learn that the first 17 street cabinets (serving 4,000 premises) equipped with BT’s up to 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) broadband technology have gone live today. The work forms part of the wider £410m Digital Scotland partnership.

The new link stems from an earlier project (here) that will effectively replace the islands old Microwave wireless connection with a new fibre optic cable, which connects via the undersea SHEFA-2 cable that links the Faroe Islands with mainland Scotland (UK).

It is however important to mention that Shetland Telecom played a big part in helping to bring the fibre optic link to the islands in the first place, which BT are understood to be leasing. If memory serves then BT are also buying capacity from Shetland to Faroe and back to UK on Farice1 for resiliency and will use Shetland Telecom’s fibre to give them a route from Lerwick to Maywick.

Apparently the official opening ceremony for the new on-land side of the network was held at one of BT’s street cabinets in Böd of Gremista in Lerwick, which is currently being described as Scotland’s “most northerly fibre broadband cabinet“. The other cabinets can be found in Quarff and Sumburgh, with more on the way.

Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital Highlands and Islands, said:

This first phase of roll-out on the Shetland Islands is opening up fibre based services to one in three homes and businesses in one swoop. It’s a great start.

The Shetland Islands have links across the world in leading sectors including energy, creative industries, tourism and food and drink. Access to better broadband can open up opportunities for business growth across all these sectors, and at home makes for more flexibility in every day life.

Having now pushed through almost all of Shetland’s existing cabinets our next steps are to build the new networks and cabinets needed to reach customers currently connected directly to their exchanges.”

The next phase of work on Shetland will start in the second half of 2015 and this will connect more people in Sumburgh, Cunningsburgh and Lerwick, it will also take services out to a number of new communities including Voe, Symbister, Brae, Scalloway and Sandwick.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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16 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil Coates says:

    So one cab per 235 premises?

    My cab serves about 600 residences and businesses.

    Once it has its Fibre twin, about 100 residences will be able to access ‘Superfast’ BB and the rest effectively zilch.

    1. Avatar adslmax says:

      It is possible for Openreach to increase capacity.

    2. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      There are 96, 128, 256 and 288 line varieties of cabinet available.

      If your PCP covers 600 premises you’ll either get an ECI 256 or a Huawei 288, depending on which type of handover point you will be connecting to.

    3. Avatar Phil Coates says:

      Nah, we will get nowt as ‘too expensive’ to reach for BDUK stage 1. Oddly the cab in the town square in Stafford has just been activated via BDUK. 20Mbps already available via ADSL, no-one lives there – WTF!!!

    4. Avatar Matthew Williams says:

      Err It took State Aid to upgrade Stafford Town Centre Cabinet that is pretty bad honestly it’s hardly a rural area lol.

    5. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Businesses use broadband too…

    6. Avatar Phil Coates says:

      The definition of rural seems to include Stafford, Rugeley, Lichfield and Cannock. Essentially it seems to be filling in where BT commercial rollout didn’t go in those towns because it was ‘uncommercial’. Presumably this applied to Stafford Town Centre where no-one lives. Businesses in the area had access to ADSL @19Mbps anyway.

    7. Avatar NGA for all says:

      SA.336671 state aid clearance doc stated Rural at least four times specifically to prevent the monies being diiverted to urban in-fill or in Suffolk cases the re-classification of a commercial area.
      Ok so no definition of rural so intervention area which now includes town centres is being imposed.
      This is such a missed opportunity, but SA.336671 did attempt to deal with the matter.

  2. Avatar NGA for all says:

    Great effort H&I, good to see. If we ever get proper transparency on costs the available monies should go much further.

  3. Avatar GNewton says:

    Good to see better broadband coming around on the Shetland Islands.

    However, the headline for this news item, like so many, is quite strange and a contradication in itself:

    “…Fibre Broadband FTTC Cabinets Go LIVE…”

    By its very nature, the cabinets usually provide a VDSL service which goes to the premises over twisted-pair copper wires. It certainly is not a fibre broadband, rather a distence-dependend best-efforts-speed DSL service.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Please see the many.. many.. other articles we’ve written explaining what “fibre broadband” is, or rather isn’t, which I know you’re aware of (example below). Lord knows we point the differences out quite frequently, sometimes several times a week.


      Unfortunately this is just how it’s referenced by the government, Ofcom, ASA, ISPs and nobody seems inclined to change, so we just have to live with it. In most cases I put “fibre broadband” inside speech marks but this time I didn’t.. too rushed.

    2. Avatar X66yh says:

      So rather than writing on forums which will get nowhere, go instead and write a well considered complaint to the ASA.
      You need to write a specific complaint about a specific advert/webpage not a generalised complaint about industry practice.

      The ASA address is Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6QT
      There you are: – Off you go…..

  4. Avatar Deepest Darkest Rural Hampshire says:

    …but they can’t get it to the Hampshire South Downs!!

    1. Avatar X66yh says:

      Nor can I as it happens – 7 miles from a city centre in a village.
      Both cabinets excluded from BDUK.

    2. Avatar No Clue says:

      So rather than writing on forums which will get nowhere, go instead and write a well considered complaint to the BT.
      You need to write a specific complaint about a specific service not a generalised complaint about industry practice.

      The BT address is http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/expression-gen.aspx
      There you are: – Off you go…..

  5. Avatar Con Bradley says:

    Perhaps BT are trying to type “feeble broadband” but their spell checker keeps changing this to “fibre broadband”. Could explain it.

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