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Since 1994 the Western Isles have been at the forefront of creating and enabling knowledge economy jobs for tele-workers, office based workers and indeed any job which can be undertaken over an internet connection.
From 1995 to 2001 the Western Isles ICT Advisory Service was funded in two phases through ERDF with additional funding from HIE Innse Gall and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Over that time great progress was made in attracting inward investment companies and in the growth of local ICT companies. Tele-working also helped create a number of home based work opportunities especially in areas were no options for office based jobs existed.
The Western Isles 'Connected Communities' project is delivering an innovative high performance broadband wireless network across the six main populated islands of Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra. The network has connected a diverse range of organisations and individuals placing the Western Isles at the forefront of broadband developments in rural areas.
Connected Communities is also piloting a number of technologies which will be a model for other rural and island areas to replicate. The 'Connected Communities' island network utilises a combination of fibre and leading edge Wireless Broadband Base stations and multipoint in-community links.