Faroese Telecom proposes to bring 5G to Shetland Isles

By Sarah Wray 22 November 2018

Shetland 5G

Faroese Telecom has put forward a plan to bring 5G to the Shetland Isles in Scotland.

Representatives from the state-owned Faroese Telecom, which is the largest service provider in the Faroe Islands, went to Shetland last week to present their proposal for providing fast 5G coverage to all residents, according to reports.

Maggie Sandison, chief executive of Shetland Islands Council, told Shetland News that the Council would be prepared to discuss the proposition with the UK and Scottish governments, provided it met Shetland’s needs.

She said that in the presentation, Faroese Telecom outlined a plan to deliver “100 per cent coverage” and she noted that the company’s delivery model is proven to work in remote rural settings.

Sandison said improving mobile and broadband services on Shetland is a high priority for both the Council and its residents. 

Licensing hurdles

However, in order to proceed with its 5G plan, Faroese Telecom would need a licence to enable it to operate in the Northern Isles.

Shetland News reports that Marvin Smith of Shetland Telecom is “pessimistic” about the prospect of such a licence being granted.  He said it could be complicated to shift UK licensing policy towards issuing regional licences.

Sandison is quoted as saying the Council plans to enquire further about the licensing issue.

Faroese Telecom first flagged its desire to expand its services from Faroe into Shetland and Orkney in 2016, noting that  its Shefa subsea cable already comes ashore in Orkney and Shetland, meaning improvements could be implemented in a matter of months.

Smith told Shetland News that Faroese Telecom’s 4G coverage in Faroe provides between 70 and 100Mbps per device. In Shetland, users typically only get around 15Mbps.

5G comes to Orkney

A 5G trial is set to begin soon in nearby Orkney, as part of a consortium led by Cisco. The remit is to ‘look beyond the city’ with 5G test initiatives. One of the use cases in Orkney will be enhanced mobile broadband - that is, using 5G mobile network technology instead of traditional landline-dependent broadband. 

The  5G RuralFirst team plans to focus on the 700MHz 5G band and will target ‘not-spots’ which have poor landline coverage. They hope to deliver speeds of up to 70 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

About Sarah Wray

Technical Writer at 5G.co.uk

Sarah Wray is a technical writer with over 10 years' experience writing about technology, including telecoms, smart cities, data, IoT, aerospace, and more.

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