Two Scottish community broadband projects which have been supported by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) have been shortlisted for the Rural Connectivity Award at the O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards 2016.
Loch Tay Internet in Perthshire and Mearns Internet Initiative (also known as marykirk.com) in Aberdeenshire have both been recognised in a category that commends achievement and digital endeavour from rural networks across the British Isles.
Both groups have received funding and support from Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), a Scottish Government initiative lead by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. CBS supports rural communities to develop community-led projects that will provide transformational broadband to its residents and businesses.
Loch Tay Internet recognised that action was required to address poor broadband services in their rural and scattered community in Perthshire. CBS funding has enabled the group to build a network infrastructure that is expected to benefit 350 people in more than 150 premises.
After rolling out a successful pilot network to address poor connectivity in the area of Marykirk, Mearns Internet Initiative (marykirk.com) approached CBS for help and advice on how to expand the network to a wider area. CBS funding allowed the group to develop a resilient and sustainable broadband network to serve over 140 properties.
Zoe Laird, CBS Director welcomed the news saying: “It’s great to see two fantastic community-led broadband projects receive the recognition they deserve. Both Loch Tay Internet and Marykirk have overcome the digital challenges that living in a rural area brings and have developed innovative and cost-effective solutions to deliver better connectivity for local people.
“I look forward to seeing the outcome of the awards and wish both groups the very best of luck.”
Phil Simpson of the Christian Trust, Abernethy commented: “We are delighted with the high speed internet that is now making a real difference to the community, where people struggle to access public services.
“Without the guidance and help of CBS we would still have been living with the frustration of poor connectivity. The success of this project has reached into all areas of life around Loch Tay, firmly placing us as a part of Scotland in the 21st century.”
Bill Buchan, CEO of marykirk.com added: “We can only thank CBS for our nomination and for their continued support in addressing connectivity needs in our area. Thanks to them, we have over 140 customer premises being served by Marykirk.com, with another 90 in the pipeline.”
The winner will be announced at The O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards ceremony held in London on Thursday 13th October 2016.
About The O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards
The O2 NextGen Digital Challenge is a competition that, as a byproduct, produces case studies that illustrate the evolution of the digital/online environment impacting on all aspects of UK life.