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Radio links mooted in bid to improve broadband speeds

BT are to investigate the feasibility of establishing radio links in Papay and North Ronaldsay in a bid to improve broadband provision in the islands.

The links, while still short of the 24Mbps promised by BT as part of their upgrade of island exchanges, could see broadband speeds increase dramatically, from around 0.5Mbps to 8Mbps.

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur met BT representatives recently to highlight specific concerns about broadband provision in the two islands.

Repeated breakdowns in Papay have left residents without for over 40 days since the turn of the year, and while North Ronaldsay have not experienced the same level of disruption, like Papay, local residents continue to struggle with slow connections.

Mr McArthur said: “Despite recent investment in broadband services, for too many people in too many parts of Orkney, the reality is one of slow speeds and intermittent service, if indeed they get a service at all.

“It has been suggested to me that radio links could be established quite easily and cost-effectively for both Papay and North Ronaldsay. While this may not achieve the same speeds as some other options, it may at least offer the benefit of a solution in the nearer future.

“I welcome the fact that BT has agreed to investigate the practicalities of installing radio links and hope that this can play a part in helping deliver the improved broadband services that communities across Orkney desperately need to see.”