Connected Communities

CnES and NHS-Western Isles use the Connected Communities network extensively to provide broadband services to over 90 sites such as schools, council offices, health centres, medical practices and key workers.

The network also serves almost 1,700 private households and businesses. Because the Outer Hebrides is distant from main internet connections and the wide distribution of the population across a number of islands, more traditional methods of providing broadband, like cable, are impractical. As a result, wireless is being used to provide broadband across the islands.

Connected Communities is a project led by HIE in partnership with NHS Western Isles and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

In March 2011HIE secured additional off-island capacity in the BT telecommunications links between Stornoway and London. Because of capacity constraints had recently suspended new orders to ensure that existing customer services were not affected. Anyone with an outstanding order for broadband can now arrange to have equipment installed so that they can be connected as soon as the service is upgraded.

The increase in capacity will also allow plans to upgrade customers to up to 2mbps, with additional options for business and higher capacity users. It is envisaged that the ISP will then be able to offer a wider range of services tailored to the residential and business user.

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