Faroese Telecom has reiterated its 2016 offer to improve mobile coverage on Shetland and Orkney – this time offering to bring 5G to the remote Scottish islands. Representatives from the state-owned Faroe Islands company visited Shetland earlier this month to present an ambitious proposal to bring 100% 5G coverage to the isles, while a spokesperson for Orkney Islands Council has confirmed that the telco had presented a similar proposal to its officers.
However, the proposal will require a change in policy at Ofcom if it is to proceed. Marvin Smith of Shetland Telecom commented: ‘They said that they have the capability to bring much improved mobile to Shetland, but unless the UK licensing policy changes then there is no opportunity to do so. What needs to happen is that the UK government would need to bring in regional licences. It will be a difficult to convince them because it could be a very complicated situation if regional licences existed.’
The Faroe Islands are an archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland, 200 miles north-northwest of mainland Scotland. TeleGeography notes that the Faroe Islands are currently connected to northern Scotland via two submarine cables, namely FARICE-1 (since January 2004) and SHEFA-2 (since March 2008). Interestingly, Shefa, a subsidiary of Faroese Telecom, is already working with US vendor Cisco to establish a 5G testbed on the Orkney Islands. The telco was invited to participate based on its experience addressing rural connectivity challenges in its domestic market.