Faroese Telecom wants to bring 5G to Shetland

Faroese Telecom, which provides communications services to the Faroe Islands, wants to bring 5G connectivity to Shetland and Orkney.

Shetland News reports the company has held meetings with Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison and that similar discussions have been with her counterparts in Orkney.

The theory is that a smaller-scaler operator with experience in delivering connectivity to a remote rural location like the Faroes would be well-equipped to improve the mobile infrastructure of Shetland.

Shetland 5G

5G promises faster speeds, greater capacity and lower latency that will transform mobile broadband and result in the creation of new business applications. 5G-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) will be of particular interest in remote areas.

Faroese Telecom first raised the possibility of offering services to the Scottish Isles back in 2016 and has a subsea cable linking Orkney and Shetland with the Faroes and the Scottish mainland. This means it would have the backhaul capabilities needed to support 5G.

“Faroese Telecom were presenting their business delivery model for broadband and 5G,” Sanderson is quoted as saying. “They discussed a proposal that could offer improvement to mobile coverage in Shetland – 100 per cent 5G. Improving both mobile and broadband services is a political priority for the council and we understand community priority so would support any project which would improve digital connectivity quickly for our community.”

However, such a move would require significant changes in how the UK assigns spectrum. At present, Ofcom issues licenses on a nationwide rather than a regional basis. EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all won 3.4GHz spectrum that can be used across the entire of the UK.

Meanwhile, Orkney itself is host to one of the UK’s 5G testbeds, with the 5GRural First project led by Cisco and the University of Strathclyde trialling 5G broadcast radio and smart farming initiatives.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.