Island of 20,000 saints to get 100mb broadband – but visitors won’t be able to use it to preserve ‘magic’
Ynys Enlli, an island better associated with isolation, legends and myths, has been thrust into the 21st century with installation of the latest digital technology.
Gwynedd Council and Menter Môn have collaborated on a project to connect this remote island, also known as Bardsey Island, off the Llyn Peninsula to the mainland. This will enable residents, including a local farmer and the wardens to access superfast broadband despite being nearly two miles out to sea.
The technology allow the deployment of ‘Internet of Things’, which include sensors to monitor electricity levels generated by solar panels as well as water stored in tanks. This data will give residents more control over resources we take for granted on the mainland.
But visitors won’t be able to use the service in order to preserve the “magic” of isolation on the island, with many going there to escape from the fast-paced digital world on the mainland.
One of the wardens, Mari Huws, explained that “Having a reliable connection is essential for the residents as it makes living here so much easier, and by restricting access to the residents only it helps preserve the magic of Bardsey.”
Visitors are brought to Bardsey Island by Colin Evans, who says the connection has vastly improved business function.
“Before, I had to operate from the mainland as there was no signal on Bardsey. Now I can run my boating business from the island,” he said.
He also explained how a broadband connection was a crucial step in resurrecting the island, not in modernising it but in restoring the old community which once lived there.
The island is owned and managed by the Bardsey Island Trust, who employ two wardens. Having access to broadband is extremely valuable as they live on the island for extended periods.
She also explained how sensors are being used to help preserve the history of the island. Humidity is monitored in ‘Carreg’ house, which helps maintain murals crated by published artist Brenda Chamberlain, who lived on the island for 15 years.
Menter Mon are thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with Welsh Government and Cyngor Gwynedd through the RDP programme and hope to complete more broadband projects in the future.
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