A group of rural communities in Perthshire are a step closer to accessing superfast broadband after the installation of telegraph poles for the area’s community broadband project.
Around 350 people in more than 150 premises are expected to benefit from the broadband service provided by Loch Tay Internet, an entity supported by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).
CBS, a Scottish Government initiative being delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has been supporting communities to develop community-led projects that will provide transformational broadband to its residents and businesses. CBS has worked closely with local communities around Loch Tay and provided £109,078 of funding to Loch Tay Internet which enabled them to contract AB Internet to build the infrastructure.
The installation of the masts will be the final step in the process before the network goes live, with a total of six telegraph poles being installed over two days. The telegraph poles are equipped with antenna to transmit the signals to premises and are powered by a combination of wind and solar energy. These masts are being built as an alternative to a standard broadband connection, as this was not a viable option for communities around Loch Tay given the distance from the telephone exchange in Killin and issues with old copper landlines.
Ardeonaig and Ardtalnaig Community Association, on the south side of the Loch, with expressions of support from Killin Community Council and the Loch Tay Association set up Loch Tay Internet and have worked closely with AB Internet to reach this critical stage.
Shaun Marley, Community Broadband Scotland adviser, commented: “The installation of the antennas today is a huge milestone for Loch Tay and evidence of the hard work of the local community. It is essential that all parts of Scotland can access high quality broadband to enable continued economic growth and stronger communities. At Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) we work hard with communities and technical providers to find alternative digital solutions for rural communities to ensure that we narrow the digital divide in Scotland.”
Phil Simpson of the Christian Trust, Abernethy, has been a driving force behind Loch Tay Internet and was there to see the installation: “As of today, we are one step closer to better broadband and all of us are looking forward to getting connected. It will make an enormous difference to the people here, both on a commercial and personal level.”
Neil Tucker, from AB Internet added: “The installation has been challenging, but taking broadband to the most remote parts of the country is what we’re all about. We are pleased that local people came to see this, joined in to help us make it happen and had the tenacity to bring what is really a utility to this beautiful part of Scotland.”