Local News for Thursday 18th May 2017

Eriskay testbed for new broadband fix
Households in Eriskay have been selected to take part in the first commercial pilot of new technology to increase the speed of fibre broadband over very long phone lines. Long Reach VDSL is being tested by Openreach, building on trials in Lewis last summer. Broadband speeds tend to slow over long distances, so higher power levels are being tested to increase the distance over which broadband can be delivered. If the Eriskay test proves successful, the test households will keep the higher speeds for the foreseeable future.  Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Being able to test new technologies like this in a real-life setting is a crucial step before we can deploy them on a much wider scale. I hope people in Eriskay will see real improvements in their broadband speed as they help us find an answer to the challenge of delivering faster, fibre broadband over longer lines.”

Flybe and Loganair challenged on cancellations
Flybe and Loganair have been challenged over three consecutive days of delays and cancellations to flights between Glasgow and Benbecula. Passengers to and from the islands reported cancelled flights on Monday, delays on Tuesday and a technical problem yesterday which also cancelled the flight. The complaints have been taken up by Parliamentary candidate Angus MacNeil, SNP, who has asked Loganair to justify what he calls ‘shoddy service’ to their customers. Mr MacNeil said: “It is very disappointing to hear that passengers travelling between Glasgow and Benbecula have suffered three consecutive days of flight delays and cancellations, which create real problems for the travelling public. I have asked Loganair to confirm what contingency plans are in place in the event of disruptions to the service.”

Committee chairs elected
The new chairs of committees on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have been elected this week, following Tuesday’s election of the Convenor and Council Leader for the new term. Angus McCormack will chair the Education, Sport and Children's Services committee, with Charlie Nicolson as vice-chair. The new Communities and Housing has Kenneth John MacLeod as chair and Paul Steele vice-chair, while on sustainable development the chair is Donald Crichton and vice-chair Norman MacDonald. Transportation and infrastructure will be chaired by Uisdean Robertson with Kenny Macleod as vice-chair.
Island supergroup goes down a storm
An new island ‘supergroup’ is attracting praise after their first release was posted on Facebook by Wee Studio on Tuesday. The new group, Willie Campbell and the Tumbling Souls, have recorded Dance a Little Better, a traditional country-style track featuring many of the island’s top musicians. The release has garnered 20,000 views since being posted this week, and is promised as one track on an album to be recorded in Lewis this summer.