Community Broadband Scotland is investing £58,500 in a Perthshire project which will dramatically improve online access for local people by the Spring.
Building has started to create a wireless network as part of a pilot project, which has been designed to initially link communities circling the Tay Forest Park - Amulree, Trochry and Struan - which previously were struggling with broadband speeds or around 1Mbps.
The project is the culmination of the hard work of community volunteers who make up the Highland Perthshire Communities Partnership (HPCP). As well as the funding from CBS, there has been additional support from Perth and Kinross Council and from the Griffin windfarm fund.
Work has started on five small-scale telecoms masts being erected at a series of key locations to provide broadband to these rural communities. The group’s ambition is to add more to ensure that no one in Highland Perthshire is left behind and that all can call upon speeds of as much as 20Mb.
CBS is a Scottish Government project led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). It supports communities across Scotland which are unlikely to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project which aims to deliver coverage to 95% of Scottish premises by the end of 2017.
Shaun Marley of CBS commented: “This project will open up access to homes and businesses locally who have been finding it difficult to carry out even the most basic of online tasks. Better broadband will create new opportunities and benefits and allow people to choose to live, work and learn in what is a beautiful part of the Perthshire countryside. “
Bruce Patterson is the partnership’s project officer. He said: “We’ve been working on this issue for more than a year and a half and are delighted that we could see services available by Easter.
“We are committed to providing a credible service to Highland Perthshire, based on a model that has been used and proven to work at Laggan.
“Though the DSSB roll-out is coming, there are vast areas of rural Perthshire that can’t be reached and for those that can it looks likely that it may be 2017 before they see fibre. We are concerned that without good services soon then businesses and communities will struggle – and by doing this ourselves we can offer a way forward.”
He continued: “It is our ambition to ensure that the whole of Highland Perthshire is a wi-fi zone. We will be a community business and all profits will be poured back into the business and into our communities.”
Notes to editors
Highland Perthshire Communities Partnership is a registered charity SC041120 — which has 25 members, including all 10 Highland Perthshire Community Councils — has been working for 17 years to improve the lives of those living and working in the area.
Contact – Bruce Patterson, 07793 673206
Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) is an initiative to help kick-start community-led broadband projects in Scottish communities.
CBS, as part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has been tasked by the Scottish Government to work with people who are unlikely to benefit from the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, which aims to reach 95% of premises by 2017. CBS helps them find sustainable ways to get faster broadband. The project forms part of the Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland strategy.
CBS is a partnership between the Scottish Government, HIE, Scottish Enterprise, COSLA, Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group, Carnegie UK Trust, Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority.
For more information see www.communitybroadbandscotland.org.uk