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Skye sees community broadband investment paying off
Friday 12 October 2012 12:12:24 by Andrew Ferguson

What do you do when you have difficulty getting access to even mains power, but build your own and the same is happening with broadband in the more remote parts of the United Kingdom. The Tegola project in Inner Hebrides which started as a research project in 2007 is now starting to deliver fixed wireless broadband service offering speeds of up to 20 Mbps to those living in the Arnisdale, Corran and parts of Knoydart areas as well as the latest additions which are the isles of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Canna.

The service relies on wireless transmitter towers and relay sites, with the key point being access to a fibre connection in the Gaelic College (Sabhal Mor Ostaig). Many people have talked of getting access to spare fibres or sharing part of an existing service to create this sort of digital hub, and in many cases the negotiations over this sort of thing are lengthy, with the problems often not being technical but contractual.

The island of Skye is a busy place today, hosting a conference for community broadband activists and journalists like Rory Cellan-Jones from the BBC. The island does have ADSL services offered from the more than a dozen exchanges spread around the island, (Skye is around 25 mile long, but width varies from 3 miles to 25 miles, and is home to around 10,000 people) but many people live outside the main settlements and the terrain makes for longer than average line lengths.

The Tegola Project is part of a £5 million Community Broadband Initiative in Scotland, which exists to help communities develop solutions where commercial operators fear to tread.


Posted by myqal over 5 years ago
"The island of Skype"! Corporate sponsorship gone mad...
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
The idea of sponsorship had crossed my mind, so seems the fingers decided to type it too.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
<joke> Does Skye still own Easynet?

Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago that is the speed the adsl connections in skye gave me. Just sayin, you are right about the line lengths. Many of the communities at the conference can't even get that meagre connection. If they had access to decen backhaul they could build the altnets needed to service all the people, not just those near exchanges. The Tegola project proves that beyond a doubt. It could be replicated all over Scotland where larger telcos fear to tread.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
before anyone says that is peak time, here is one from early next morning
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago shows speeds people get in the area, a good number actually given the small population
Posted by jwmltrans over 5 years ago
I don't know where Andrew Fergus gets his info on the size of the Isle of Skye from! As the crow flies from Duntulum in the far north to the Point of Sleat in the far SW, it is approx. 45 miles and by road, the route over which presumably most of the cabling is installed it would be nearer 80 miles. I live in Milovaig in the NW and it's 55 miles from my home to the Skye Bridge!

Incidentally, in my community we are are lucky if we get a meagre 0.5 Mb ADSL broadband speed!!!

John Lewis
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
25 miles north to south as in a straight line. It was meant to give a rough idea of size to people who have no idea of its size, and terrain effects on distances gets a mention.

I could have said 639 sq mile, but figured that means nothing to most people.

Suffice to say it is sparsely populated.
Posted by GraceCourt about 1 year ago
I came here to post about a Report published today by The Glendale Trust, "North Skye Broadband", marking the next step towards rolling out high-speed broadband across North Skye... and Andrew's figures just do not add up!

Andrew, between which two points is your "25 miles north to south as in a straight line" measured? The difference in longitude between east and west is 42 miles: doing the same with latitude is 49 miles!! Every other measurement between the islands extremities is therefore LONGER, not SHORTER. You aren't using that "BBC Weather shrunken Scotland" map, by any chance??
Posted by GraceCourt about 1 year ago
The 600-character limit means I have to inform interested parties about the Report in another post... the article, which has a download link for the Report, is at
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