Con Com customers get alternative solution following concerns

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Customers unable to use an alternative broadband or 4G provider in the Outer Hebrides will get a solution via satellite.

The Connected Communities (Hebnet) broadband system is due to be shut down in March but there are still around 500 customers using the service and some have no other option.

Since the roll-out of superfast broadband across the Western Isles in 2015, homes and businesses have been flocking to them and the high fixed cost of ConCom has made it no longer viable for HIE to continue.

While fibre or 4G services are available for some, others would be left without any broadband after March.

The new satellite internet service, Hebsat, is hoping to provide that service for those left without any other option in the HS1 to HS9 postcodes.

The service is being offered by Voove, the Hebridean partner of rural broadband provider, BigBlu Internet.

The company are also looking to offer a cyber security apprenticeship at their Uist and Stornoway offices along with some other exciting opportunities for people in the Hebrides.

A spokesman for Voove said: ‘With the purchase of the old Uist laundry building and surrounding land, we will be converting this 800sqm building into a technology hub to provide hands-on access and training for all generations, whether this is to teach the parents, learn the basics, more advanced tasks, or those wishing to start a podcast or streaming video channel.

‘Being able to provide the studio space, the equipment as well as the training to everyone, we hope to help as many people as possible understand not only the risks, but also the benefits technology has to offer.’

The constituency MSP for the Western Isles, Alasdair Allan, recently raised concerns that while 80 per cent of households in the area have access to superfast broadband, some do not even have decent 4G reception.

He was disappointed that HIE did not give customers more notice and wrote to the Scottish Government Minister for Connectivity, Paul Wheelhouse, saying that those customers affected by the switch off should be ‘at the front of the queue’ for the next stage of fibre broadband.