Before we first bought Mill Cottage, as we would be running a couple of businesses from home we checked the broadband speed. This tested at 1.5Mbs. Not great, so we contacted a local supplier of Internet Satellite systems IsleSat to do a site inspection to see if we could use this to boost our speed. Their answer was positive and we could have a system which would give us 10Mbs but which was data capped at 20G a month. This worked well and enabled us to work. The data capping was always a limitation and streaming was not really possible but this was back in 2014 so we could live with this. We also kept the 1.5Mbs ADSL line as we have a fixed site to site VPN to maintain our servers and also to connect to a server in Switzerland. This system work well for us until such time that stable mobile 4G rolled out across the Island. After doing a few tests we then invested in a LTE 4G Modem router with an external aerial and with an unlimited SIM from Vodafone we got a usable connection of around 30Mbs. One limitation to this setup was the significant slow down to around 3Mbs when a large cruise ship or two came in and the extra five thousand or more people would put a strain on a mobile phone data system normally used to dealing with no more than twenty odd thousand people.
This mobile system worked fine along with the copper ADSL for the VPN and backup. Our copper line was what they call ‘direct to exchange’ which meant that we connected directly to the exchange some four miles away rather than to a green roadside box. So we thought that the chance of a faster ADSL was unlikely although in the field next to us I noticed a large ‘BT’ concrete chamber which held hope for the future.
There were many promises of 100% high speed internet coming to the island promised by the Scottish government for years. Imagine our surprise in mid 2013 when a contractor started digging up the side of the road to us and start laying fibre. I kept checking on the Open Reach web site and also with our excellent Internet supplier Merula in Huntingdon until one day we were told we could order fibre, not only that but we could have the fabled FTTP ( Fibre To The Premises) with a possibility of 900Mbs ! This has now been installed and is working well. The old copper ADSL has finally gone and the monthly cost to us has dropped. True we don’t need 900Mbs but I ordered that more for bragging rights with my two sons after enduring years of ‘observations’ of our internet system.
With almost the whole island now being wired for High Speed Broadband the opportunities for business or individuals to work from a remote island such as Orkney will I sure make a real difference to the community here to say nothing of the property prices!
At last we can now stream our favorite programs on our new 4K TV ( it had to be done ) and play music from Tidal without guilt or having to see everything slowdown or stop as Microsoft does one of its updates to our systems. At last we are part of the 21st century !