Better connected than Buzby

Added

Tammie and Norie – the two stars of "PuffinCam" – have become the best-connected birds in the world, thanks to Shetland Telecom.

For the third summer running, Promote Shetland and RSPB Scotland are working together to stream live video from Sumburgh Head. Live footage of the Puffin egg being laid was relayed to the world via the new Shetland Telecom fibre optic connection to London.

Shetland Telecom was set up by the Shetland Islands Council in 2011 to improve the isles" links to the world through the Faroese SHEFA2 fibre optic cable. The fibre optic infrastructure is enabling Shetland to take advantage of much faster and more resilient broadband connections.

The new connection is the first fibre optic network to link Shetland to the rest of the world with high speed, reliable and resilient broadband connectivity.

Shetland Telecom Project Manager Marvin Smith said, “We needed a test customer for the network and the puffins are ideal. The bird laid her egg an hour after being connected to our network which was fantastic and proves that productivity increases when you have a good internet connection”.

Andy Steven of Promote Shetland said, “Copper based services have never been possible at Sumburgh Head. This new network allows us to develop PuffinCam to a new level”.

Shetland Telecom plan further networks to assist remote communities throughout the isles to get better broadband. Community broadband schemes already exist in Vidlin and Fetlar. The communities of West Burrafirth, Quarff and Sandwick are now developing local action plans.

Mr Smith added, “Establishing the fibre optic network and the connection to London has been an ambitious project. We are delighted that it is now up and running and providing Shetland with the high quality connections it needs.”

Notes

Shetland Telecom is a Shetland Islands Council project set up to connect Shetland to Faroese Telecom's SHEFA2 fibre optic cable.

Shetland Telecom's fibre optic cable has been installed between Lerwick and Sandwick, following the line of the A970 and will use Faroese fibres between Sandwick and Maywick for the final leg of the connection to the SHEFA2 network. In order to give added resilience a second fibre optic cable is being installed between Lerwick and Maywick via Scalloway and Clift Sound. This will provide a backup route in the event that the main A970 link is damaged.

Shetland Telecom is working to connect the rest of Shetland to this new network, either by extending the fibre optic cables into other areas of the Islands or by connecting other Telco's and service provider networks to the new fibre optic cable. The extent and rate of growth will depends on available funding and whether service providers can be persuaded to work with the Council to improve Shetlands broadband services.

BT is the main provider of telecoms in Shetland and has recently announced a significant improvement of services for Lerwick before the end of the summer.

The PuffinCam can be viewed at http://www.shetland.org/puffincam