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%?

From the documents so far made available and making comparison with the maps in Stirling Council’s Broadband Strategy paper (available here) it looks as though provision to the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre (BLS) area may be minimal to non-existent. Balquhidder in particular will have problems due to all local lines currently running directly to the Strathyre exchange rather than through a local cabinet (the distance and quality of lines being – as we all know – the issue here). We look forward to more specific information on coverage in the near future and will promptly publish this. There are however other possibilities: as the rollout proceeds, it should, given the commitment to an, “Open Access Network” be possible for local initiatives to connect to the wider network.

Locally, we’re therefore working with the local authorities and the Community Broadband Scotland project to look at costing and funding for effective local broadband. One of our biggest obstacles continues to be BT’s refusal to provide vital information about where we can interconnect with their fibre network, so we’re looking at a broad range of possibilities. Richard Harris ( is a member of Stirling Council’s Broadband Advisory Group, as are local Councillors Alycia Hayes ( and Martin Earl (

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