Friday, 26 May 2006

Hotspot Outer Hebrides

The pace of broadband take-up out here continues to speed up. And this isn't just for residents, either. There are suddenly a lot of places that have public broadband facilities.

In Lewis, several hotels such as the Doune Braes offer wireless broadband to people inside the building. The County Hotel in Stornoway offer wireless access for free, so you can sit in their bar, have lunch (their food is good) and tap away. Here in Berneray, the Nurse's Cottage has broadband hooked up to a PC for visitors and residents (including an out-of-hours service), while a new B&B just down the road (opening later this summer) will offer a massive guest room with seal view and a Mac in the same room hooked up to broadband; very sensible. Just down the road in Lochmaddy, Tigh Dearg had broadband installed yesterday and is establishing a wifi hotspot, while the nearby Taigh Chearsabhagh has had broadband (by satellite) for some time for visitors and is soon switching to a wireless feed.

Further south in Benbecula, Nunton Steadings also has wireless broadband (and is a good place to sit with your laptop, drinking good coffee and being online), while the UCVO near the airport (where Am Paipear is put together) and the Dark Island hotel a few miles away offer drop-in broadband services.

Add to this the various libraries up and down the Outer Hebrides which have broadband (Stornoway public library has lots of PCs, while the one inside Lionacleit School also has several fast terminals for the public). And there are loads more I haven't mentioned or discovered yet, from the Butt (of Lewis) to Barra.

The Outer Hebrides seems to have gone from having little broadband (for visitors or residents) a year ago to such an essential service rapidly becoming ubiquitous. There's certainly more access for visitors here than in the backwater part of Worcestershire where I grew up in, or in many other parts of rural Scotland.


  1. There is also broadband Internet access in the public library in Tarbert (Harris), unfortunately only during school opening hours. It is part of the Sir E Scott School, on the western side of the village.

  2. Interesting to read how broadband is spreading up there. I'm a regular visitor to Islay and heard quite a lot about their struggle to get BT to install broadband (they finally got it in Summer 2005).Living in Swindon and working for a big IT company it's all too easy to forget that broadband isn't everywhere yet.