9 August 2013
Residents in Applecross, Wester Ross, have become the first community in Scotland to benefit from Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) funding to bring improved broadband to their area.
£68,520 has been awarded to the remote West Highland community to develop an internet service which will be 10 times faster than is currently available. The Applecross community has been working with CBS under its “pioneer project programme” to develop the wireless broadband solution. The network which will be owned and run by the community is planned to be up and running by autumn 2013.
Welcoming the news, Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“I am delighted that the Applecross Community is the first CBS pioneer project to receive funding and I hope this inspires other remote Scottish communities to follow their lead.
“Everyone recognises the importance of access to broadband to ensure that our rural communities flourish – to enhance the quality of life and stimulate the growth of the Scottish rural economy. This is an important event and one that reinforces our commitment to ensuring that Scotland is a world leading digital nation by 2020.”
Sean Kilbride, Director of Applecross Community Company said:
“We are pleased that we now have sufficient funding to allow us to install a robust broadband system for Applecross, bringing connection speeds up to 21st century standards at last. Access to better broadband will broaden employment opportunities in Applecross.”
Sandra Byrne, local CBS adviser said:
“The community has been ambitious in developing a network which will reach across the peninsula, improving services and facilities for residents and visitors alike.
“As well as boosting an economy heavily dependent on tourism, the service opens up opportunities in the area for those who want to combine high-tech working with a lifestyle choice to live in the area. CBS is delighted to have worked with the community to help them to achieve their goals.”
The project also secured an award of £48,150 from the Big Lottery Village SOS Fund in November last year.
Notes to editor
Community Broadband Scotland has been working with the Applecross Community Company to assist the people of the Applecross peninsula (population of 250) on the remote north west coast of the Highlands to deliver a broadband solution to their community. Previous broadband speeds did not reach 0.5Mbps, with some having no access to broadband at all, and mobile coverage is almost non-existent.
There will be an estimated 200 subscribers to the project which will assist local businesses. The local economy is heavily dependent on tourism and access to a fast, reliable broadband service will enable new businesses to start, thus broadening the economy, as well as strengthening existing businesses.
The group implemented a successful pilot project in September 2012 and on the strength of that secured funding from the Big Lottery Village SOS Fund towards a community broadband project for the whole peninsula.
A part-time broadband development officer is in post and the project is being delivered as a phased roll out. The first part has already been completed and phase two will see the expansion of the scheme to cover the wider Applecross peninsula.
Customers are likely to get speeds of up to 6Mbps. The equipment used means that should serving exchanges be upgraded to superfast speeds the network will be able to carry next generation speeds of 30mbps or more.
Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) is a national programme funded by the Scottish Government delivering a Scotland wide service to support community broadband solutions. Delivery of CBS is being led by a project team within Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The CBS initiative is a partnership between the Scottish Government, HIE, Scottish Enterprise, COSLA, Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group, Cairngorms National Park, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and Carnegie UK Trust.