Skye bridges and the rainbow net

Thursday 8th April 2010
The Skye bridge

Snatching at a welcome two day break to see the Western Highlands, Gaberlunzie was acutely aware of the battle that must exist to transmit and receive the radio signals that bring some of the most city centre assumed services, as in radio (dead hissing silence in the Great Glen), mobile phones (messages can take hours to arrive, text is often quicker) not to mention TV reception, and the internet, almost as elusive as the Skye rainbows.

That said, Gaberlunzie did see that all is not forlorn. At the Kyle of Lochalsh (left) there is care for your computer (and hi-fi). While, half an hour away, across the bridge to Skye visitors will be relieved  to know that there is a genuine Intenet cafe, though according to the gossip, some of the iPads might really have trouble there with weak wi-fi signals.

The New York Times notes that AT&T blames a shortage of cellphone towers near homes and business for poor connections, and for a price is offering a mini cell tower. a line of femtocells devices designed to help AT&T customers get better reception inside buildings, as well as faster overall speeds. Described as being “like having a cell phone tower in your home”, the 3G MicroCell is the first such publicly-tested device of its kind.

MicroCells cost $150, appear to be only offered in certain US areas and are stirring resentment from customers, who feel that they are already paying for a service they are not receiving.

Someone, somewhere really needs to work this one. For Scottish cellphones which cannot get reception, sometimes internal aerials work, but in general, changing your cell phone service provider to the Number One for masts throughout Scotland is the most reliable route.

It's curious how an enormous global market can exist worldwide from Upper East Side, Manhattan in the US, to a crofting community in Skye or (hang in there) Barra, and still not have come up with a solution.

It's like the pot of gold at the foot of rainbows.


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