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Shetland Prep Second Attempt at £2m Full Fibre Broadband Bid

Friday, July 27th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 1,523
shetland lerwick harbour

The remote Shetland Islands Council appears to be gearing up for a second attempt at bidding for money from the Government’s £190m Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) fund, which if successful could be used to extend a new Gigabit “full fibre” (FTTP etc.) network to cater for the proposed space launch site.

At present it’s known that the Shetland Space Centre (SSC) plans to build and operate a satellite launch site in Unst (Shetland), which is recognised as being the United Kingdom’s most northerly island. The plans were recently given a boost after a related Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Lockheed Martin to support the proposal.

The area being considered (Lamba Ness) for the new centre is typically quite remote and one obvious problem with that is the lack of existing broadband infrastructure, but the progress now being made by SSC may help the local council to get a bid approved to deploy “full fibre” (FTTP) into Yell and Unst.

A similar bid was attempted but failed last year, although that was before SSC formerly proposed to build a launch site. According to Shetland News, if the second bid is a success then the new high speed broadband link could be delivered by 2019 (we assume that means the end of 2019). The bid itself is expected to be ready by the end of this summer.

The local council is also talking to the Scottish Government about the impact of their £600m R100 project, which aspires to make “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) ISP networks available to “every single premise in Scotland” by the end of 2021 or March 2022 as a financial year (here and here).

Meanwhile the council’s Head of Development, Neil Grant, warned: “If we are unsuccessful in that process, the council may need to consider whether to make that investment directly based on the economic and social benefits.”

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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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4 Responses
  1. Avatar New_Londoner

    If they are intending to use broadband to connect the proposed space launch site then I’d question either their judgment or the seriousness of the launch site proposal.

    Surely a real launch site needs multiple dedicated Ethernet connections with diverse routing and failover? Why on earth would you use what is essentially a consumer service for an environment generating high volumes of data and needing predictable, very low latency connectivity?

    Or are they simply trying to create a false link to the project in order to make their broadband funding bid more credible?

    • At this point the full bid is still being designed so we don’t know precisely what is being proposed or how fast / resilient etc. The space based connectivity will of course be maintained via Satellite and Wireless.

  2. Avatar TheFacts

    The launch site would have ‘proper’ connectivity, this would be for the businesses and residents.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      My thoughts too – I suspect would-be customers would struggle to get insurance if the site relied on broadband for its connectivity.

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