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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 00:38 GMT 01:38 UK
Remote community gets broadband
Hamnavoe harbour on Shetland's West Burra Isle
The sillhoette of Foula can be seen past the Fugla Ness lighthouse
The remote Shetland island of Foula has finally had its telephone exchange upgraded to broadband.

Work on the isle's new service had been delayed after a storm destroyed building work last winter.

It was the only community left without an upgraded exchange after a Scottish Executive rural broadband programme was completed last December.

However, a mixture of satellite and wireless technology provided an interim service to its 30 or so residents.

A BT spokesman said the Foula upgrade had been a "mammoth task".

"High winds, and choppy seas made the delivery and storage of materials difficult," he said.

"Transferring 12 engineers to and from the site was another challenge because Foula is served by a seven-seat light aircraft and the one bed and breakfast can only accommodate seven guests.

"Several times the weather was too bad for flying and some engineers were stranded on the island."

Remaining lines

The rural broadband initiative was run in partnership with BT and brought broadband to 378 small exchanges where there were no plans for commercial services.

All of Scotland's 1,069 telephone exchanges have now been upgraded for the fast technology, apart from 21 exchanges in the Western Isles which are covered by a separate project being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

A BT spokesman said a small number of lines on some exchanges would still be unable to receive broadband because of the distance they travelled from the exchange.

The executive said it was undertaking research to help it address this issue in the next few months.


SEE ALSO
Broadband television for islands
13 Jun 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Communities get broadband access
29 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Broadband rollout by end of year
24 Apr 05 |  Scotland
Broadband heads for islands
06 Oct 03 |  Scotland

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