The Connected Communities project to bring broadband to the Western Isles of Scotland is progressing well. The project is set to cost around £5.2million, and is supported by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
On the Stornoway hub is almost complete, and the first part of the main backbone linking Stornoway to Rodel in South Harris is due to be finished in March 2005. With the whole network going live in May 2005. Further work will continue after this, to finish the network of transmitters. Six masts will need to be constructed to link up North Lewis, Uists and Barra.
The eventual service should cover 21 local exchanges areas, that BT deemed commercially unviable, and should offer a product starting at £20 per month, with a basic 0.5Mbps package, offering speeds of up to 6Mbps. Early testing on the 5.8GHz kit, has shown connection speeds of 12Mbps are possible, so it seems there is room for future product enhancements. Interestingly Ofcom has given the project an extra boost, by allowing the 5.8GHz transmitter power to be doubled.
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