As An Tirisdeach reaches our deadline date for publication, we are delighted to see that the cable laying ship Rene Descartes is back in the Tiree Passage laying fibre optic cable for future broadband services, after spending the weekend in Belfast.
The ship is currently working between Calgary Bay, Mull and Scarinish, Isle of Tiree, where the broadband fibre-optic cables will come ashore. An Tirisdeach understands that shore based work at the Scarinish BT repeater station is already complete to receive the new fibre-optic cable.
Local organisations including Tiree Broadband, Tiree Trust and Tiree Community Council, successfully presented a compelling case to Marine Scotland that the sub-sea cable between Mull and Tiree should be commenced immediately, despite objections by Clyde based fishing interests to the sea bed cable work.
It is unlikely that faster broadband services will be available to BT customers on Tiree until the completion by BT in 2015 of infrastructure planning.
Readers who are interested in following the daily progress of the Rene Descartes can do so on their tablets or iPad’s by downloading an app called “marine traffic”. The app shows all ship movements in the area, including speed, destination, cargo carried etc.
Tiree is about to enter the high speed digital age!
Fears that the island would lose the planned fibre optic cable that would bring high speed broadband have at last been lifted. The licence to lay the sub sea cable from Calgary in Mull to Scarinish was granted to BT this week by Marine Scotland after a new route was submitted, and it is hoped that work on the cable will begin almost immediately.
A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Enterprise told Tiree Community Council, “I am pleased to inform you that BT has now been successful in securing a licence from Marine Scotland to allow them to proceed with the laying of this important fibre link. We expect work to start on the route very soon.”
Shock news that the high speed broadband link was being threatened by objections from Glasgow-based scallop dredgers came two weeks ago. However, it was made very clear to Marine Scotland, the government licencing agency, that if Tiree lost this cable the island could suffer serious damage to its social and economic development. In a letter to the agency, and to Scottish ministers and MSP’s, Tiree Community Council pointed out that if the link was cancelled the adverse effects on the island’s business, tourism and education would be disastrous.
Last night a spokesman for Tiree Community Council said, “This is great news. Tiree’s voice has been heard and the island can now look forward to being part of the age of high speed broadband. This link will bring huge benefits to the island in the future. We will be able to compete on a level playing field with other areas in attracting people and businesses to come to Tiree. We cannot overestimate the importance of this to the island, and we are delighted that the licence has been granted.”