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Mearns Internet Initiative receives funding boost from Community Broadband Scotland

05 July 2016

Mearns Internet Initiative has received additional funding of £30,400 from Community Broadband Scotland to extend its successful marykirk.com fixed wireless broadband network.

More than 80 premises in the Howe of the Mearns area are set to receive an uplift in broadband speed of up to 25mbps. The already successful marykirk.com project will now be able to use the funding to connect even more customers in the area, which lies in South Aberdeenshire and North Angus.

Marykirk.com was set up in 2013 to give a small group of villagers access to fast internet. Demand from the community led to this being greatly expanded in scope and coverage, which brought about the inception of the Mearns Internet Initiative to help channel government support to the effort. With the assistance of Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) funding, Mearns Internet Initiative developed the pilot network to make broadband services available to the surrounding communities. After the initial project was completed, the group had further aspirations to expand coverage in the area.

Commenting on the initiative, CBS adviser Shaun Marley said: “After the initial rollout of marykirk.com, CBS has continued to have a strong working relationship with Mearns Internet Initiative, encouraging the team to build on its initial success. Providing additional funding will enable this inspiring group to connect further premises with fast broadband and reap the benefits of increased connectivity. Marykirk.com is proof positive of the importance of digital connectivity to the growth of rural populations across Scotland. Now with four members of part-time staff, the positive impact of broadband continues to be felt throughout the Howe of the Mearns area.”

Bill Buchan, CEO of marykirk.com, said: “Everyone now needs continuous, fast internet service. Before, the internet here was unusable, now we’re providing areas with speeds of 10-25mbps which is really enabling for both businesses and individuals who now no longer have to leave this rural area to get fast broadband.”

Ross Mitchell, Managing Director of Castleton Farm which has benefitted from increased broadband speeds, said: “The benefits we’ve seen have been tenfold. Since moving to marykirk.com, we’ve increased speeds which allows us to do our business and gives us the tools we need to improve performance. On the back of that, we’ve linked our farm shop, packing house, office, biomass system and houses to the same system so it’s given us real benefit.”

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