OneWeb – Community Broadband
OneWeb – Community Broadband
The island of Papa Stour in the Shetland Islands, one of the most remote communities anywhere in the UK, has seen its digital infrastructure transformed as part of government plans to ensure universal access to fast, reliable broadband coverage.
The trial is part of the UK Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, aiming to build a better, more secure, more prosperous future. The Clarus Networks Group, alongside BT, OneWeb, and Starlink, is currently supporting this strategy with low earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband trials in the most remote parts of the UK. In addition to Papa Stour, there are seven sites which use a mixture of both OneWeb and Starlink equipment to connect, including Snowdonia National Park, North York Moors and Lundy Island.
“We welcome this investment in a satellite broadband trial for Papa Stour, where residents have been disadvantaged for many years due to the lack of a broadband network on the island. This hopefully paves the way for further investment in better broadband services for other rural parts of Shetland. We want our smaller communities to thrive and good broadband is a part of modern life to help maintain populations and to attract more people to live, work and invest in Shetland.”
At its peak in the 19th century, Papa Stour’s population was around 380 people, supported by a strong fishing sector. However, the population has dwindled since and the island is now a permanent home to seven people. Presently, there are no children living on the island, but it is hoped the installation of fast connectivity will allow the school building to act as a connection hub for the islanders, support the growth of business (e.g. tourism), and bring residents back to live on the island.
Due to the remote location, 4G LTE and fibre were not viable options to provide the necessary speeds and bandwidth to support high-speed internet access for the residents. The UK Government, therefore, engaged Clarus to design a solution to meet the needs of the community.
Last year, Shetland residents lost all telephone and internet services for a period of time when subsea cables were damaged. The Alpha Trials aim to show how low Earth orbit satellites could be a solution when island locations and rugged scenery make cable installation and maintenance challenging. The Government recently announced a £7 million fund to test new ways to bring together satellite, wireless and fixed line internet connectivity, helping to support remote businesses.
Clarus engineers conducted detailed surveys and testing to identify the best placement of the terminal, to deliver the fastest possible connection.
With almost global coverage and superfast speeds, OneWeb is designed for remote and rural sites that require high-speed broadband internet access for communities.
Clarus engineers installed a specialist Kymeta flat panel terminal, which links to OneWeb’s constellation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to beam high-speed, reliable broadband connections to the island from space.
The panel’s installation marks its first commercial roll-out in Europe and forms part of the government’s Alpha Trial programme launched in December to test the capability and viability of low Earth orbit satellites to deliver high-speed connectivity to communities in very hard-to-reach areas.
Residents can now connect to a broadband network at the island’s primary school building and use high speed WiFi on the island for the first time. Previously, many residents have limited cellular data and only dial-up speed internet in their homes, whereas the new satellite broadband achieves lightning-fast speeds, and is capable of supporting multiple video calls, streaming in HD and other high capacity uses.
✓ Maximum possible speeds achieved on the island – up to 100Mbps download
✓ Instant communication with the mainland
✓ Reliable connectivity for business-critical applications and hardware
✓ Future-proofed primary and backup internet solution
As an Authorised Starlink Reseller, we can supply high-speed, low-latency connectivity in any country where they have coverage.
By partnering with Clarus, you will have access to a wider range of tariffs than you will see online and a host of additional services and support.