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A pilot scheme designed to bring super-fast broadband to the Shetland Islands is set to get underway in January 2011, it has been announced.

The European Union has granted state aid clearance for the initiative, meaning Tulloch Developments can press ahead with laying fibre cable as soon as the weather improves.

A new micro-trenching technique will be used, which involves laying the cable in foam packaging under roads.

The Shetland Times reports that £1.1 million will be spent on the venture, with £367,500 going towards the project from the European Regional Development Fund.

Shetland Telecom has been the driving force behind the scheme, as it aims to deliver faster broadband speeds to households and businesses on the islands.

Last month, the European LEADER granted first stage approval for a £50,000 grant to deliver high-speed broadband to the Scottish island of Fetlar.

Marvin Smith, Telecoms Project Manager at Shetland Islands Council, said the location was ideal to test super-fast broadband delivery technologies.

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