Community broadband supplier HebNet has set up a network on Muck, where Mowi farms
Community broadband supplier HebNet has set up a network on Muck, where Mowi farms

Mowi helps bring broadband boost to Muck

The Isle of Muck is now hooked up to a full fibre network, thanks to a partnership between salmon farmer Mowi and community broadband supplier HebNet.

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It is the third Scottish island to receive full fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband from HebNet, and its network is based on the original fibre design installed two years ago on the nearby Isle of Rum, Scotland’s first fully-fibred island.

Mowi, which farms in the area, requires high-quality and reliable networks to link between its fish farm barge and shore-based office on Muck (a 2,000 metre distance) and to its head offices in Fort William, reported the company in the latest issue of its newsletter, The Scoop.

The salmon producer had worked with HebNet to connect its business in Rum and has now used the Muck fibre network run by HebNet CIC to improve its operations.

Absolutely necessary

Sean Anderson, deputy production director at Mowi, said: ‘Having reliable fibre networks linking our worksites is absolutely necessary for our business.

‘This connection provides daily updates about our fish quality and size that help our sales team deliver what customers want, it reduces unnecessary travel and improves safety, and also helps add to the quality of life for our employees enjoying some time off in between working.’

HebNet director Ian Bolas said: ‘We knew Mowi needed a high quality link between its shore base and barge so staff can continue to monitor their fish by remotely operating underwater cameras and feeding systems during rough weather often encountered in the area.

‘As soon as the fibre was deployed on the island, we installed a short wireless relay from a suitable landside location to the barge.

‘Using gold standard fibre in conjunction with a wireless relay makes the shore base connection as good as if you were on the barge itself.

‘There’s a lot of talk about 5G technologies just now but traditional fibre and 5Ghz wireless technologies shouldn’t be overlooked as suitable options.’

Residential houses

In addition to the shore link for the barge, Mowi’s three residential houses and office on the island have access to the fibre connections.

The local community has also welcomed the benefits that effective full fibre networks bring to rural areas.

Muck resident Gareth Moffatt said: ‘A stable, fast connection has become hugely beneficial to island life, whether used for business, home shopping, entertainment purposes or just for communication with loved ones.

‘With the recent restrictions applied due to Covid, the broadband service been invaluable for the children’s home schooling, enabling them to continue their education with little interruption.’ 

HebNet was set up a decade ago to provide affordable and reliable broadband services to the Small Isles, Knoydart and Elgol.