History                                  Next >>>

Most communities' first experience of the internet was through a dial-up connection using their telephone line.  This was always excruciatingly slow, and meant the phone line was unavailable for normal use.  For the Small Isles, along with many rural communities, the first 'broadband'  was provided by a combined satellite link and local wireless network.  This was funded by HIE (Highlands & Islands Enterprise) `under  a scheme called Hi-Wide.  It involved each community taking a fixed bandwidth contract with a satellite broadband company,  which was fed into a terrestrial wireless network that distributed the service around the community.  

The theory of this was good, with a bandwidth of 2Mb, and each consumer generally limited to 750kb.  However in practice it was beset by problems, particularly in places like Eigg which did not at the time have a centralised electricity supply.  Each house had its own small diesel generator, and many also had a battery/ inverter system to give longer hours of power for less generator hours.  The wireless network had several relay points to extend the system across the island, and these were powered by the electricity supply at the nearest house.