Residents in a picturesque Midlothian village are developing a broadband project to allow them to easily access the digital fast lane while enjoying the benefits of rural living.
The pretty village of Cousland near Dalkeith has a vibrant local community of around 300 people. While only 11 miles from Edinburgh it is surrounded by countryside and the residents have been struggling to get the digital connection they want, with broadband speeds of around 1 Mb/s delivered through their telephone lines.
Now they are on their way to securing local support for significantly faster broadband thanks to an initiative led by local volunteers and Community Broadband Scotland (CBS). They have created a new service via a radio link from Edinburgh with a wifi connection in the village hall, which is achieving speeds of over 20 Mb/s.
Alison Vikis local resident and a member of Village Hall Association said: “We got in touch with CBS to discuss how we could bring faster broadband to the area. With advice and some financial support we were able to set up a fast broadband connection to the village hall, all in under a month. Funding was awarded for a pilot project to support community engagement and stimulate demand with a view to developing a wider community project.
“Local people have been really impressed with the results and the full area is currently being canvassed to secure their support to develop a community-wide project with the assistance of CBS. Good connectivity is a real boost to the community and will form an important part of our future plans for the area to support local business users as well as residents.”
CBS, as part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has been tasked by the Scottish Government to work with communities in the hardest to reach parts of Scotland to help them find sustainable ways to get faster broadband. The project forms part of the Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland strategy.
Bob Murison of CBS commented: “Indications are that parts of the Cousland area may not be reached using the technology currently rolling out across Scotland, either commercially or through the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) step change project. While the DSSB project will help around 95% of premises in Scotland by 2017, the remaining 5% have not been forgotten and this is where CBS can step in.
“Better broadband is important to everyone, and in rural homes and businesses good connectivity can transform how we live, work and learn. CBS’ role is to help people to find sustainable ways to get connected to better broadband. We’re delighted the initial work in Cousland has been a success and look forward to continuing the work to support a new project to provide faster broadband to the wider area.”
If you are interested in developing a similar project please contact CBS