The 3G network will give away almost 400 million megabytes of mobile broadband in order to get ‘notspots’ and other areas in need of broadband in the Scottish Highlands online
Mobile network Three is to give almost 400 million megabytes of free mobile broadband to homes and businesses in the Scottish Highlands.
Three's Rural Broadband Working Group will give 20 devices to community hubs, homes and businesses in the village of Melvich, the parish of Durness and the port of Invergorden.
The group, which was set up last year, works with local politicians to identify 'notspots' and other areas in need of broadband and gives them free mobile broadband for a year using Three's network.
It will connect communal areas in Durness, Melvich and Invergorden, including a community hall, a hotel, a shop and two cafes, as well as six families and local business people.
All participants will be given a year's free mobile broadband to use with internet-connected devices. Free-to-use public mobile internet hotspots in community areas will also be provided.
This is done by using mobile broadband dongles, which are small modems, and MiFi units, which are wireless routers that act as Wi-Fi hotspots. Both work with any laptop or Wi-Fi-enabled device.
Kevin Arrowsmith, development officer with Durness Development Group, which is working to build a sustainable community, said: "Internet access is absolutely key to the economic and social wellbeing of Highland communities which are otherwise disadvantaged by their extremely remote location, so the more broadband we can get the better.
"We are incorporating the devices from Three into our initiatives aimed at helping individuals, small businesses, and community groups.
"We are a long way off achieving universal access in the Highlands, but this will be invaluable in providing access where landline-based broadband is not available, unaffordable or inadequate."