BroadbandNetworks

Free Inverness Wi-Fi Goes Live As Hebrides Project Gets 30Mbps Broadband Boost

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Free Wi-Fi hopes to aid businesses in Inverness while island of Tiree community broadband project gets £91,000 upgrade to 30Mbps fixed wireless

The first phase of a city centre-wide free Wi-Fi service has gone live in Inverness, while residents of the remote island of Tiree are set to receive a significant upgrade to their fixed wireless broadband speeds thanks to a new cash injection.

Ness Wi-Fi is a £500,000 initiative funded by the Inverness and Highlands City-Region Deal and led by The Highland Council to deliver ‘fast’ Wi-Fi to central areas of the city, in a bid to help businesses, residents and students, while also encouraging tourists to visit.

The network is available in the Victorian Market, Falcon Square and surrounding streets, and the pilot will help collect data for a full rollout in the summer.

Inverness

Free Inverness Wi-Fi

“The benefit of easy access to free, fast internet connection will be enormous for shoppers, tourists and businesses in the city centre,” said Provost of Inverness, Helen Carmichael. “So much of what we do depends on the internet, whether you are looking for directions, checking emails, searching for accommodation, booking a restaurant or show, or chatting with friends or colleagues.”

The Highlands City-Region Deal aims to position Inverness and the Highlands region as a digital centre and it is hoped the prospect of free wireless connectivity will advance those aspirations.

“On behalf of the local businesses, we welcome the launch of the Wi-Fi project which will add even greater value to the city centre offer for visitors and residents alike,” added Mike Smith, manager of Inverness Business Improvement District (BID). “We thank all involved in developing and funding this important project.”

Community broadband in Scotland

Meanwhile, Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) has awarded £80,000 to a separate initiative on Tiree, which is the most westerly-island in the Inner Hebrides.

Residents and businesses have enjoyed 2Mbps fixed wireless broadband since the Tiree Community Development Trust (Tiree CDT) built a network there in 2005 after a lack of commercial interest, but this is set to be ramped up to 30Mbps thanks to the CBS funding.

CBS is a Scottish government initiative aimed at extending coverage beyond the 95 percent of premises set to be covered by the £410 million Digital Scotland project, part-funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

“Improving infrastructure, like broadband, is a vital component in the development of our local economy and in our island’s fight against depopulation,” said Mark Vale of Tiree CDT, which is also stumping up £11,000.

“This project will deliver a greatly improved quality of internet services and speeds to 160 households and businesses in our community and enhance the long-term viability of community broadband on Tiree.”

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