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Salmon farmer nets superfast broadband for community

Scottish Sea Farms has worked with a local broadband provider to bring superfast internet access to its farms and residents. Photo: SSF
Scottish Sea Farms has worked with a local broadband provider to bring superfast internet access to its farms and residents. Photo: SSF

Homes and businesses on the remote peninsula of Knoydart and Loch Nevis on Scotland’s west coast can now enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, thanks to a collaboration between salmon farmer Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) and rural broadband company HebNet CIC.

SSF has ensured high-speed connectivity between its three Loch Nevis farms and the shore. Photo: SSF
SSF has ensured high-speed connectivity between its three Loch Nevis farms and the shore. Photo: SSF

Previously, the area was served by an internet service that was struggling to cope with the increased demands being placed on it. Similarly, the satellite system that SSF was reliant on for internet access wasn’t able to support the growing business need for high-speed, high-capacity connectivity between its three Loch Nevis farms and the shore base.

SSF and HebNet have upgraded the local infrastructure with a state-of-the-art enterprise-grade wireless link between Skye and Knoydart capable of delivering superfast broadband of 30Mbit/s or more to end users, putting the area on a par with broadband provision in parts of central Scotland.

Dedicated fibre connection

SSF has also invested in a dedicated fibre optic connection, supplied by community internet service provider HUBS CIC, which links the core networks of both organisations, guaranteeing capacity, availability and quick resolution in the event of a fault.

For SSF, this faster, more reliable solution has enabled each of the company’s three Loch Nevis farms to be equipped with remote feeding and monitoring systems.

For the wider community, the increased capacity makes things like smart-enabled TVs, gaming and live streaming applications such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime an everyday reality.

SSF managing director Jim Gallagher said: “Each and every pound that our company invests is focused on one thing, enhancing the health and welfare of our fish, and this latest investment helps us do exactly that. It also contributes towards our goal of ensuring that the communities in which we live and work derive maximum benefit from us being there, by offering access to the same high levels of connectivity that come as standard in more central locations.”

Significant cost

Ian Bolas, director at HebNet, a community interest company which also supplies broadband for the nearby Small Isles and Elgol, said: “Designing and installing the infrastructures required by the remote locations we serve is one challenge, but meeting the significant cost involved is quite another. By working with Scottish Sea Farms, who met well over 50% of those costs, we have been able to bring forward our own planned upgrades by as much as 12 months – something that will benefit local residents, businesses and tourists alike.”

The new enterprise-grade wireless link went live earlier this month, keeping HebNet on track to meet or possibly even exceed requirements set out within the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver Next Generation Access broadband well ahead of the 2021 target.

Future-proofing

Bolas said: “There’s a huge element of future-proofing within the new infrastructure which is important in terms of meeting the ever-increasing demands for internet access, both for those who live in Knoydart and those who visit the area on holiday.” 

Meanwhile, SSF is already working with another remote community – this time, Drimnin on the shores of the Sound of Mull – to help bring high speed wi-fi to the area where previously there has been little or no internet access.

If you live or work in Knoydart and would like to find out more about subscribing to superfast broadband via HebNet, email info@hebnet.co.uk

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