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”.

Playscheme lottery hopes disappointed
The Thig a Chluich (Come and Play) playscheme was disappointed last night in their hopes to win up to £50,000 funding from the People’s Lottery. The Stornoway-based blingual playscheme for pre-school children reached the final five in the STV North region vote, but didn’t get the public votes needed to reach the top three. Organisers said after the result was announced last night: “Thanks all for your support – it meant a lot to us. We didn't make the final three, but to make the shortlist of five was an achievement in itself. We won't be the white van girl owners, but we'll still be getting out and about across the Western Isles and making 'Thig a chluich' grow.”
Lights off for Earth Hour
Lights will be switched off at Stornoway War Memorial on Saturday evening as the Comhairle join landmarks around the world taking part in World Earth Hour. Some of the world's most recognisable landmarks including Big Ben, The Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower switched off for Earth Hour last year, while Scotland marked the hour with schools, community groups and iconic buildings joining the big switch-off. At 8.30pm on Saturday 19th March, the Comhairle will switch off the lights at the War Memorial on the outskirts of Stornoway. It’s the seventh year running that the Western Isles have participated in the worldwide event and, in 2011, Scotland became the first country in the world to have all its local authorities participating in Earth Hour.
Local Mòd draws to close
The Lewis Provincial Mòd has their major fundraising concert tonight, after soloists and primary folk groups take their turn in the competitions this afternoon. Tonight’s concert features many Mòd medallists and local musicians, and raises funds for the hosting of the Royal National Mòd in Stornoway this October. Tomorrow the Mòd draws to a close with instrumental and choral competitions during the day, and a prize-winners concert in the Nicolson Institute during the evening.