Local News for Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Library café closes tomorrow
Stornoway’s popular and bustling library coffee shop will close tomorrow for good, just a month after councillors agreed to seek alternatives to closure during the budget-setting process. Following February’s round of meetings, the Comhairle announced that the loss-making coffee shop would be offered as a franchise, instead of being closed. Now two staff have taken voluntary redundancy, and two are being redeployed within the council, the coffee shop closing its doors tomorrow afternoon. Coffee shop manager June Lafferty said: “It’s a real shame and people are gutted, because it’s a great service right in the middle of the town. It’s a meeting place for many, especially the older folk. There’s a chance it will re-open as a franchise operation but I don’t expect that to happen.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Local News for Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Satellite the answer to slow broadband
A new UK government scheme has been announced which offers satellite connection to homes and businesses with poor broadband speeds. UK Minister Ed Vaizey announced the scheme yesterday, saying that up to 300,000 customers in remote areas of Scotland can get a discounted satellite broadband connection, if they are currently unable to obtain an affordable broadband service of at least two megabytes per second. To be eligible, you must live in Scotland, and must be unable to receive a broadband connection speed of more than 2Mbps from the BT Openreach network. The offer is only applicable if survey work has not already started to deliver fibre-based broadband to your property.  More information on the operation of the scheme in Scotland can be found on the broadband programme website by following the link on the Isles FM Facebook page.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Local News for Friday 18th March 2016

St Kilda Swimmers team of the year!
The St Kilda Swim Team were crowned 'Team of the Year' at the National Adventure Awards ceremony, in Glasgow this week. Swim team captain Colin S Macleod and swimmer John Dyer were presented with the award as part of the National Adventure Awards, celebrating the most adventurous across the UK. The team were among seven shortlisted in the category , after their epic swim from St Kilda to Harris last August. The team took only 35 hours to finish a swim that had been postponed three times, due to bad weather, and became the first to swim the 60 miles of North Atlantic. Seven swimmers, three kayakers and a support boat crew made the charity challenge a huge fundraising success too, with donations to four charities after the event. John Dyer said: “I am so proud of all the St Kilda Swim Team and a big shout out to all our friends and families for the support and encouragement.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 18th March 2016

Local News for Thursday 17th March 2016

Try Faroese model on mobile phones – MP
Techniques used in the Faroe islands could be tested in Scottish Islands, to speed up delivery of reliable mobile phone networks, according to Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. This week Mr MacNeil met with the Chair and CEO of the Faroese telecom company along with Huw Saunders from Ofcom, to discuss ways of expanding mobile phone networks, particularly in the Scottish Islands. Mr MacNeil MP said: “It is very interesting to know that in the Faroe Islands with a population of only 50,000, has already completed a 3G roll-out of 50 masts, including full signal in their two undersea tunnels.  120 masts and 4G will be completed by July across the entire Faroe Islands.  Faroes Telecom believes one of the island groups of Scotland should manage to bring 4G with only about 25 masts, given the high speed broadband which is arriving in the islands. I am anxious, along with other Scottish MPs, to help bring forward a trial on one of the island groups so that we can start to bring us up to the standards which the Faroe Islands have, with its far more challenging geography than we have in Scotland”.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 17th March 2016