Glacial Progress…

Continuing from last month’s update on attempts to bring the communications available to the three villages area into roughly the same century as the outside world, there’s a little good news and a whole lot of no news: Firstly, with BT awarded government funding under the Step Change 2015 programme to bring a minimum of 2Mb/s to 80% of the rural population, they have announced that they can deliver that level to 93.5% of us. That, whilst it would help a number of the “no-band” areas in the Trossachs, is unlikely make much difference in our area. The way in which BT will deliver this is also unlikely to be future proof in the local area and will deliver a maximum performance that falls far short of current ‘normal’ broadband, let alone the capacity that  that online services are starting to assume as normal and for which they are designing their next generation of services. In effect, if you’re not a urban dweller with fibre cables in your street, you effectively become classed as the ‘rural poor’ and, by definition, don’t matter. 
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Step Change 2015

This should be good news. But may not be. The Scottish government and, locally, Stirling Council recently announced the results of their £264M Step Change procurement for “superfast” (the quotes are intentional irony) broadband  to 85% of homes and businesses across Scotland by 2015, rising to around 95% by the end of 2017.  But guess where appears to be in the remaining 15%?

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Broadband in Balquhidder

The lack of effective broadband provision in the local area has been an issue since early Celtic times: engravings on local standing stones indicate regular sacrifices of proto-human network executives to propitiate the gods of connectivity. Little has changed since and multiple attempts have been since made to improve the state of local communications, given just how critical effective broadband is to economic and social development and the sustainability of rural communities.

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