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Blairlogie Community to get online boost and feature in broadband research

19 March 2014

A rural community in a Stirlingshire conservation village is celebrating the introduction of faster broadband thanks to a partnership led by local volunteers, and supported by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER Programme and the University of Stirling.

Residents who live in and around Blairlogie, which lies to the east of Stirling bounded to the North by Dumyat and to the south by the A907, have been unable to access broadband speeds of 0.5 Mb/s. More than 5km from their telephone exchange, the community’s homes and businesses lie at the limits of what can be delivered via existing copper technology.

The Logie Fast Broadband Project was designed by a team of community volunteers, with the help of staff from the Computing Science and Mathematics Division at the University of Stirling. As part of the 3-5 year research project, the University of Stirling is initially providing a link to the JANET network at the University, to provide the backhaul for the wireless service, which could reach up to 100 local businesses and homes.

The first premises are already connected and more are set to follow in the coming months.

Project leader Angus Annan, said: “We believe that access to fast broadband is essential for the development of the Logie community. Fast broadband is now vital for business, learning and leisure and this community effort brings Blairlogie and the surrounding Logie area right up to date with the new technology.”

CBS has provided technical advice and support along with a grant of £25,000 to the Blairlogie Community and Heritage Trust to design and build the infrastructure for this network.

Mark Tate, Director of CBS, said: “Access to faster broadband will have a transformational effect on how communities in remote and rural Scotland live, learn and work. The community of Blairlogie, driven by some really enthusiastic volunteers and with significant help from the University of Stirling have delivered transformational connectivity for their residents. CBS has been delighted to support with advice and funding the implementation of this innovative project.

“It is fantastic to have the involvement of the University – not only by providing the backhaul the community needed but also with ongoing research to measure the transformational impact the project has on local people.”

The University's School of Applied Social Science will look into the social and economic impact of faster broadband on the small mixed rural community. The Logie Fast Broadband Project is supported by HUBS (High-speed Universal Broadband Services), a joint University of Stirling-University of Edinburgh community-interest company.

Dr Marwan Fayed, University of Stirling, said: "One of the goals is to investigate the merits of the community broadband model and understand its effects on the beneficiaries. Doing so will enable us to model and educate communities, funders and policy-makers on a national and international scale."

The partnership project is also supported by Manor Farm Business Park and grant funding from the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER Programme..

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