Press Release

Public sector sites across the northern Shetland Islands are set to benefit from access to full fibre broadband after Shetland Islands Council secured £1.91 million of government funding to expand its existing fibre network.

The funding has been secured from the UK government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) initiative, to connect public sector buildings such as schools, care centres and health centres on the islands of Yell and Unst.

Independent IT advisors FarrPoint supported the local authority’s successful bid, by focusing on how a full fibre broadband network could deliver next-generation healthcare services, such as the provision of digital telecare and the monitoring of elderly residents’ health in the home environment.

The funding aligns with the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100 per cent (R100) programme, which commits to delivering superfast broadband access to 100% of premises in Scotland by the end of 2021.

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.”

FarrPoint has already advised on over £2 billion worth of investment in digital connectivity across the UK and has a detailed working knowledge of what central and local governments are aiming to achieve by extending full fibre deep into rural areas.

Darren Kilburn, Principal Consultant at FarrPoint, commented: “This is an excellent example of local knowledge, and an understanding of what the island communities need, supported by central government funding. This project will make a huge difference to the Northern Isles and supports the long-term viability of Yell and Unst communities by ensuring inhabitants retain heritage and culture while having access to the most reliable and future proofed public services through digital connectivity. It is a privilege for FarrPoint to be involved in gaining funding for this project and in continuing to support this project through to delivery.”

FarrPoint will continue to work closely with Shetland Islands Council, advising on the extension of the Shetland network, leveraging their expertise and experience from securing full fibre funding for West Sussex County Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and The Highland Council.