Bringing a remote island closer to the land with connectivity
Fair Isle, Scotland
Goal 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities
Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
At 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and with a population of just 60 people, Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the UK. It is located in Northern Scotland, approximately halfway between mainland Shetney and Orkney. This secluded location creates challenges for the residents there; until October 2018 there wasn’t even 24-hour electricity on the island. Whilst there is access to sluggish broadband and limited 3G, the inadequate connectivity creates significant barriers for living, particularly in areas like self-employment.
The need for speed
In April 2019 mobile operator O2 decided that enough was enough and took it upon themselves to install a 4G antenna on the island. This has felt revolutionary for many island residents who are now receiving download speeds almost 50 times faster than what was previously available.
As well as serving the 60 people of Fair Isle with what many have described as ‘life-changing’ internet speeds, work is continuing to bring 4G masts to the island communities of Skerries and Foula as part of the Scottish Government’s programme to provide 4G internet access to areas that lack network coverage.
“I’ve been FaceTiming my Grandchildren every weekend, they’re so much better at it than I am but I’m learning. It’s just lovely being able to see their wee faces so often. They live in Edinburgh with my daughter and her husband and before we had the Internet on the island we’d talk on the phone but it wasn’t the same. Now they talk to me about school, their friends, what they’re watching on TV…everything, really! I feel much more part of their lives.”
Cora Boyd, aged 82, Fair Isle
Scotland 59.5339° N, 1.6333° W
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© 2018 GSMA.