The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Wind farms could boost net speeds
More residents and businesses in the far north could benefit from better broadband cover thanks to a renewable energy company.
Statkraft has already had encouraging results from a feasibility study about its plans to build a wind farm near Melvich in north Sutherland.
This suggests nearly 250 properties would see faster speeds if the 14-turbine development at Ackron gets the goahead.
The improvement would be brought about by the wireless technology serving the turbines being deployed to provide high-speed
“Benefits could be spread to businesses and homes within a 10km radius”
internet links for local properties without the need for phone or cable lines.
Now the Norwegian state-owned utility has agreed to extend the trial to its existing wind farm at Baillie, west of Thurso.
Monsternet, which carried out the Ackron study, believes the benefits could be spread to homes and businesses within a 10km radius with an unobstructed view of one of the network repeater masts.
It is confident this could provide consistent data download and upload speeds of up to 40 megabits per second.
Fergus Weir, managing director of Easter Ross-based Monsternet, describes the potential impact as “transformational”.
Statkraft’s Alison Hood said: “We are always happy to respond positively to ideas aimed at benefiting the community and have now commissioned a Highland-based company to carry out the studies.
“Using technology at wind farm sites could be an extremely effective way of enhancing broadband provision.”