One of the most important infrastructure projects for Skye since the Bridge
Find out more about North Skye Broadband.
Click on a question to view the answer.
Who is behind North Skye Broadband?
North Skye Broadband (2015 Ltd) was set up so that a recognised legal organisation can drive the project forward and secure and manage any required funding. Once the business model, and network provider has been agreed North Skye Broadband will become a community based enterprise such as a community benefits society. The company has backing from Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Only by becoming a fully constituted community organisation can North Skye Broadband secure the 89% capital funding from CBS for the network provision. This will ensure the organisation retains the capital infrastructure which cannot be sold on for private gain. Currently a steering group made up of 14 volunteers are leading the project they are being supported by Elgar Finlay who has been contracted to supply project management services until project launch.
Is this really going to happen?
Yes. Funding is in place and work is underway to design, build and support the broadband scheme. Our first phase covering North Skye should be created by early 2017, with other areas coming on stream, in line with a roll out program which we will publish as soon as details are confirmed and in plenty of time to allow a smooth switch over from your current provider.
When is it going to happen?
Due to the delay in the public procurement process we are currently re-evaluating our delivery timescales these will be published as soon as the detailed planning has been completed.
Will there be coverage where I live?
The best way to find out for certain is to check the post code list/map on this site. However, generally speaking the North Skye Broadband will cover all of Skye at some point in the future. This is only a rough guide and to be sure regarding phase 1, please use the post code list / map. It should be noted the definition of the area may change subject to the BT current contract to deliver superfast services.
How much is it going to cost per month - is it a lot more expensive than BT or other ISPs?
The cost to you will be comparable to the charges made by BT once any of their special offers and limited time deals have expired. Part of the funding arrangement provided by CBS and HIE means that charges must be realistic and comparable with other Broadband suppliers.
Will I be tied in for 12 months or more?
Yes, normal levels of subscription that you will have been offered by BT etc. will apply to North Skye Broadband Contracts. The cost of providing access is substantial and anything less than a 12 month contract would make it very difficult to deliver this project. Funding for this scheme has been provided by CBS/HIE but it doesn’t cover 100% of costs, therefore North Skye Broadband needs to make up this shortfall. Whilst the signup is for an initial 12 months only, there is a the possibility of a rolling contract thereafter.
What type of packages will be on offer?
The broadband service will be a minimum speed of 30Mbps. The services may vary by speed and data usage so if you only use your broadband for shopping and emails then you won’t need very high download speeds and you won’t be downloading huge amounts of data. However if you are a big bandwidth and data user then it is only fair that you will be expected to pay more for the service.
Will I be limited on my usage?
The limits will be around the package that you sign up for. If you think you will need very high bandwidths and data usage, the charges will be higher than for someone who only uses the broadband for emails, shopping and the occasional Skype call.
Can I play my usual Sky TV/Sport through North Skye Broadband?
Yes. North Skye Broadband provides the broadband mechanism to transport the internet into your home. What happens to it after that is down to you.
How fast will the broadband speed be?
Current broadband speeds available within the North Skye Broadband region over telephone lines vary from below 1Mbps up to about 6Mbps, and these speeds will vary depending on the time of day that it’s being used and how many devices are connected within your house. North Skye Broadband will not use phone lines, so once it is available customers can expect speeds of over 30Mbps, this will be robust and reliable. It is our intention to increase this over time to significantly higher speeds.
What will these speeds deliver in terms of viewing video, streaming music, uploading files etc.?
By having reliable, consistent broadband speed 30Mbps this will enable many internet connected devices to work at the same time. This could be anything from watching films, or streamed TV, playing internet based games, shopping, emailing and Skype calls all running simultaneously without any buffering taking place.
Will I lose my BT telephone Line?
Not if you don’t want to. It will be possible to use an internet telephone rather than a “normal” telephone handset which means that you could do away with the BT landline altogether. Telephone calls can still be made in the normal way, but the call will go via the internet rather than the BT line. However if you would rather keep your BT landline you are more than welcome to do so.
Can I wait for BT?
You can, but there is no guarantee that they will ever come. BT has committed to a number of areas on Skye, but that is it, for at least the next three or more years. It is unlikely due to the remoteness of the locations and cost versus financial returns that BT will ever increase broadband speeds to anything like those that North Skye Broadband is planning. It is also unlikely that BT will lay more sub-sea fibre cables in the foreseeable future for the same reason. The current BT solution is limited because the speed it can provide reduces with distance from the street cabinet. It can only provide better than 20Mbps if you are within 1.6Km (1 mile) of the cabinet or exchange. On remote islands for many people this is unlikely.
How do I sign up?
Please visit the Register an Interest page on this website and let us know that you are interested. There is no commitment at this stage, but it does enable us to keep in contact with you during these early stages.
Why do I need to move to North Skye Broadband? My existing Internet Service Provider gives me all I need.
BT may give you all you need now, but with the uncertainties surrounding their future plans, this may not continue to be the case. Internet usage is increasing year on year with new technology relying on it ever more. There may well be a time relatively soon that you will need a faster, more reliable broadband connection and BT may not be able to provide this.
Can I have an email address?
Yes it may be possible to issue you with a North Skye Broadband email address.
What happens if there is a fault?
If you have a problem there will be a local telephone number that you can contact. Although full details of how the process works are yet to be finalised, as a minimum the telephone will be manned during office hours and weekends with a UK based call centre.
Will there be a guaranteed time to get the fault fixed?
There will be strict service levels in place to ensure that problems are resolved as soon as possible, however this may stop short of an absolute guarantee. A guarantee is always difficult especially when there may be ferries involved in places like Raasay.
Where will the helpline office be based?
The helpline will be based centrally to the coverage area. Once logged an engineer/customer support technician will talk through some diagnostics to see if there is a simple explanation to the issue. If an engineer is required to visit your house this will be fulfilled by a local engineer working for North Skye Broadband.
Will the helpline be manned 24 hrs?
We intend to provide 24 hrs help but we still have to work out the details regarding this level of service.
Will the fault be fixed by a local engineer?
Where possible local faults will be rectified by a local engineer. However if the problem is more complex then it may be necessary for outside assistance to be brought it.