The communities of Humbie, Fala and neighbouring areas in East Lothian and Midlothian are set to benefit from the introduction of faster broadband thanks to a partnership led by local volunteers and supported by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).
A high speed wireless service, capable of delivering superfast broadband speeds, will provide a service to over 250 residences and businesses, with first connections planned for the autumn.
The project has been developed by Humbie Lammermuir Community Enterprise Ltd (HLCE). It is a not-for-profit company established to improve community infrastructure in the Humbie area. High speed wireless broadband is the company's first venture.
The group has this week signed an agreement with local broadband company Lothian Broadband Limited (LBN) to deliver the service.
Frank Kirwan, HLCE director said: "High speed internet access for our community represents a great boost economically and socially - and we would recommend that other communities similarly lacking broadband explore what specialists such as LBN can bring.
“We are delighted to contract with LBN to build and operate a top notch broadband network for the Humbie area.”
Ian Smith, LBN managing director said: "This is another landmark for LBN, representing the first of many similar projects we hope to undertake on behalf of communities in East Lothian and beyond.”
Following the introduction of a successful pilot service to a handful of houses in 2013, the community approached CBS for advice and support on how a network could be extended to cover the whole of the Humbie and Fala areas.
The feasibility of a community network was established by a CBS funded network design and resulted in the provision of a grant of £152,000 from CBS together with funding from the Dunlaw Extension Community Benefit Trust.
CBS, as part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has been tasked by the Scottish Government to work with communities across Scotland 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.
Bob Murison, CBS advisor for the area, said: “We have worked very closely with the local community who have a highly motivated group of volunteers. Their commitment and dedication will see this access to faster, more reliable broadband become a reality. With previous broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps, the new network has the potential to transform how the local community live, work and learn. The project also paves the way for further work locally, and CBS is liaising with East Lothian Council to look at broadband options for those in harder to reach areas.”
Caption left to right: Nic McCormick Ian Smith (both LBN Directors) Frank Kirwan and Al' Beck (both HLCE Directors).