Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) in partnership with The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) hosted a packed out supplier day yesterday (Thursday) to inform the independent suppliers sector about CBS projects throughout Scotland.
With major new CBS projects underway in areas such as Fife, Skye, the Cairngorms, East Lothian, Ettrick as well as smaller projects right across the country, the event aimed to help foster a constructive dialogue with the sector, a greater understanding of tendering for CBS projects and working to deliver them to completion in partnership with communities.
Dozens of companies attended along with representatives from Scottish Government, BDUK (the Broadband Delivery UK group) and local authorities to gain a deeper understanding of CBS projects
Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) supports rural and remote communities gain access to faster broadband where the next generation of broadband is not being rolled out. CBS is delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), it has so far approved funding for over 62 projects and is actively supporting 90 pipeline community organisations covering over 19,000 premises across Scotland.
Speaking at the event held at the award winning Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Director of CBS Zoe Laird said: “Getting communities connected not only promotes economic growth but also helps us move towards a low carbon economy. We hope that the independent suppliers sector - whom INCA represent - will step up and bid for these projects, then design build and operate them with the local community in support, connecting and transforming communities across Scotland.
Our projects range in size and scale, from small islands to major aggregated projects across significant areas bringing community groups together to go farther and faster with their broadband – empowering their own communities with connectivity.
There isn’t a one technology fits all solution for bringing rural communities high-speed broadband. The Digital Scotland roll-out is bringing the fibre core network closer. However, the fibre cabinets used in towns and villages may not work for smaller, scattered communities of people. CBS is here to help people assess all the options. By drawing together communities which are unlikely to be reached, we can develop viable ways to deliver superfast services and look forward to working more with the independent suppliers sector to do this.”
Malcolm Corbett, CEO of INCA said: "CBS put together a great day with my colleagues at INCA. Delivering high speed broadband to small communities in some of the most beautiful parts of the country is a challenge that many INCA members relish. It won't be easy (if it was BT would already have done it) but with the right partnerships, a strong drive from communities and a bit of public support, it is do-able. There was a lot of expertise on tap at the event and I was really impressed by the can-do attitude of participants. I am looking forward to visiting some of the success stories!"