There’s clearly been (and remains) a bit of confusion about how we actually get our connection to the outside world, who provides it and where it actually goes. So the day when that fibre actually got installed to our cabinet seems like a good time to describe it.
We have installed a largish green cabinet in the glen, near to the furthest point to which the Openreach fibre goes. That fibre was installed last new year, paid for by EE, to serve their planned 4G mobile mast at Muirlaggan. It’s worth remembering that Openreach was going to charge us in excess of £300,000 for doing just that, which is why we were originally going to start at Mhor 84. EE has since changed its mind and has built its mast behind Mhor 84. We therefore asked Openreach to make the fibre available for us to order against. Which they (eventually) did.
Since when, we’ve (the ‘we’ in question being ourselves, Balquhidder Community Broadband, and our service providers, Bogons) have been working to build the network in the glen and use the Openreach fibre to reach Bogons’ nuclear bunker at Cultybraggan camp, which is where we connect to the outside world.
We have now installed the cabinet – the networking equivalent of a telephone exchange – which joins all the fibre we’re laying in the glen to the fibre ‘pipe’ that goes to Cultybraggan.
This is where the confusion comes in: to get from Stronvar to Cultybraggan, we’ve bought a connection from Openreach. That goes from our cabinet, along the Openreach fibre back to the A84 junction, along the A84 to the Strathyre exchange and then into Openreach’s fibre network, emerging at the bunker. We then use Bogons’ very very fast connections to the wider world.
What we can’t however do is split off connections from the Openreach fibre where it passes the properties between Mhor 84 and Stronvar: Openreach would cheerfully charge us for a separate connection to each connection point, which would get very expensive, very quickly. So this is why we have to dig back from Stronvar to the village and thence onward to Auchleskine, Auchtubh, Auchtubhmor, Kingshouse and Balquhidder Station.
We hope that helps explain how our connection works. Because the good news is that the final connection at our end, from the Openreach pole by Stronvar Bridge to the cabinet, was installed today. They didn’t manage to finish connecting the other end at the bunker, but that will hopefully happen on Monday. We’re then putting in a wi-fi connection at the cabinet, so that people can come and try out the service even before the dig gets to their own house. As soon as that’s live, we’ll let everyone know immediately. And thanks to David Johnston for the photos of today’s work.