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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The secret fibre optic cabling

Wouldn't it be great to have fibre optic cabling running through the islands so we could all get really high speed broadband and all other associated services.

We already have it.

That is 'we' in the sense of 'not us'.

According to the Gazette, Transportation Committee last week were told that:
BT have a fibre optic cable located in the verge of the existing causeway and wish the Comhairle to duct this cable through the area of new works.
There are (were?) similar cables running to Stornoway Airport and hence on to Faslane which were put in place perhaps 10-15 years ago.

Of course, they are all military based, but instead of running civilian and public services along side, they don't officially exist.

Instead of thinking that broadband in the Western Isles could be revolutionised by piggybacking on the moving of the existing, once top secret, cables and delivering lightening speeds across Uist, we have the unedifying spectacle of a bitching session about the cost of moving a public asset so that the public can't get near it.

I am sure there are many people out there with more knowledge, but I am told that the network runs to Rangehead in the South and Clettraval in the North, and between Stornoway Airport and to at least one other 'civilian' location near Stornoway.

Further information is very welcome....


Anonymous said...

Angus, I'm a wee bit outside the loop but my understanding about one of the issues regarding the Rangehead shambles was that for the remote management of the range to be moved to Aberporth the problem of 'real time visual' had to be addressed.

At the moment there is up to a four second delay in the 'real time' display relay between Rangehead and Aberporth which is done by sat link. It goes as without saying that this is not acceptable when you are playing with Eurofighter, Raptor, and drone crew training.

So, the only way round this is to speed things up a wee bit. the next step to take this forward can only be by making the link between the existing fibre optic circuit in the Hebrides Range and the welshmen.

The announcement of the MOD cuts today may have finished this particular project off. On the other hand it may strengthen the argument for abandoning the inshore range which is not really required as rapier training can be carried out almost anywhere. While also strengthening the argument that the deep water range can remain viable... if there is a fibre optic link.

Interesting times, but not exactly likely to be of benefit to those desperately needing high speed connection.

Anonymous said...

There are fibre optic cables running all over the Island and have been in place and used for Decades. One example is Barvas where there is a telephone exchange and fibre optic cables running through up to Ness yet broadband is not available in Barvas but is available everywhere North of Barvas. Where's the logic there ?

Anonymous said...

Its fibre cables that used to link all telephone exchanges together for broadband, But we wont get any extra benefit out of it as its old copper cables from the exchange to the houses. So unless they change the copper cable to your house to fibre we wont be any better off & can you really see BT investing in that in the Western Isles? No either can I.

disponded said...

The fibre cable in question was installed by contractors on behalf of BT about 10-12 years ago.

This was because the island of Grimsay, which has a Benbecula dialing code, was running out/had run out of extra capacity on the existing lines. I believe at the time that BT had split all the lines that were in place, but they had run out of options as the internet had just arrived and the businesses/people needed dedicated lines.
It was quite common for BT to split lines to increase the number of lines available.

The fibre cable was installed between Grimsay and Benbecula and BT terminated it in a small green exchange box at the road end in Grimsay next to the phone box.

I seem to remember, as I used to live only a short distance from the road end, that my internet speed went from about 48k to 58k overnight and always connected at that speed after that.
Thanks BT. That's the only thing you ever got right!!