Category Archives: News

Latest announcements and progress related to local broadband services.

The First Cut is the Deepest…

…or it is when the first segment of the network has to run along an unmade track. But here’s the first demonstration that we’re finally turning years of effort and planning into reality: this, today, is the very first section of dig for the first network segment.

It’s slightly ahead of the rest of the project – our local property developer needed to surface the track to his plots so has kindly offered to dig in the ducting for us, to save us (and him) from having to dig up his newly surfaced road again in a few weeks’ time. 

But this is going to serve the first segment of network from the access point to the fibre backhaul at Stronvar, from where the network will be radiating out to the rest of the glen, just as soon as we can get ourselves and suppliers organised – that’s an ongoing job.

We’ve also got the final network design review happening next week, after which we should have everything nailed down, routes and equipment chosen. Then we’ll really be ready to get going.

Walking Forwards for Christmas

As we head into the seasonal oblivion of  Christmas it’s nice to be able to do so on some good news, after the interminable bureaucratic setbacks of the last eighteen months. 

Firstly, we were finally able to issue our new tender on Wednesday, through the usual government and EU mechanisms. All 62 separate documents of it. And, rather to our own surprise, no civil servants were permanently harmed during the production of it. Some ears did get singed though. Continue reading Walking Forwards for Christmas

BT Moving in Mysterious Ways

We set up BCB after years of trying to persuade BT to do something – anything – to improve local broadband. Where they’ve been consistent is their contention that our area is not a viable commercial proposition even for their half-baked FTTC service. They wouldn’t even engage with us to help develop our model through their community outreach programme, although they did tell The Telegraph that we’d turned them down. Not so. Continue reading BT Moving in Mysterious Ways

R100

The original R100 was the most successful British airship of the 1930s, insofar as it never actually crashed and burned, unlike rather too many of its contemporaries. So let’s hope that’s a good omen, as the Scottish Government’s new broadband programme has been given the same name. In this case though, it stands for “Reach 100%”. By that, they mean provision of coverage of 100% of properties with “superfast” broadband by 2021.

Continue reading R100

You Can’t Get There From Here: Rural Broadband in the 2020s

This is the text of the talk given by Richard Harris at 2016’s Broadband World Forum, on 18 October 2016. As it happens, we were on immediately after the director of BT’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) project in Cornwall, who, after summarising the good work done there, regrettably went on to immediately perpetuate the spurious and readily debunkable claims of digital leadership that have helped give BT such a bad name.

Continue reading You Can’t Get There From Here: Rural Broadband in the 2020s

July News

In a world where uncertainty and idiocy seem to be the new normal, we know we can rely on one thing: the slow-moving nature of British (and Scottish) bureaucracy. We are though, however belatedly, now in the 30-day State Aid Public Consultation window during which commercial operators can rock up and say if they’re planning to do anything in the area. Given that our repeated representations to BT over the years have come to naught and that other commercial operators have refused to consider us – not least for fear of BT deliberately running a ‘spoiler’ project – it seems fairly unlikely that anything will interrupt progress. Continue reading July News

Project Update: June 2016

Things may have been a little quiet publicly on the broadband front, but that simply means that, like the swans on the loch, we’ve been paddling furiously beneath the surface, trying to make headway against rising currents. Those currents have been in the form of some hair-rending bureaucracy that’s been belatedly thrown at us by government bodies and which are currently causing us months of delay. So let’s first rewind to this time last year, when we entered into the procurement process required by Community Broadband Scotland for public funding. We followed their process and went out to market to solicit bids for a future-proof broadband service that could be provided at a market-competitive rate. What we got back were a few bids that were mostly poorly prepared, didn’t meet local needs and which offered equipment that would need replacing every few years. Uncool.  Continue reading Project Update: June 2016

Light Relief…

Well, that’s us received our first abuse letter, I assume in response to our piece on Radio 4 the other day.  It’s a postcard berating us for seeking funding for “Big Boys’ Toys”, from someone who clearly regards the telegraph (not, please note “The Telegraph”, although both may be true) as a new-fangled invention of the Devil. We were going to reply but our stone chisels are a bit blunt at the moment – we’ve been trying to work out how to build this wheel thingy…

Dear Beachcomber, we’re very glad, if a tad surprised, to hear that you’re still alive and venting. Keep it up.

 

Universal Service Exemption

I was asked to comment last night on Radio 4’s PM programme about the commitment in the Queen’s Speech to 10Mb/s broadband for all in the UK by 2020. The BBC only had a very limited time available, but I did manage to get ‘fatuous’ and ‘insane’ into my piece, which gives you some idea of where I’m coming from. The on-air piece itself is available here on iPlayer (starting 17:37 in).

Continue reading Universal Service Exemption