All posts by Richard (admin)

Stirling Provost’s Civic Awards

We’re pleased (and gratified, no less) that Balquhidder Community Broadband’s founders, Richard Harris and David Johnston, have each been honoured with a Special Achievement Award in 2018’s Stirling Provost’s Civic Awards.

The presentation took place on 26 October, at a dinner in the historic surroundings of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle, where Kings, Queens and nobility have eaten, drunk, made merry and murdered each other for 800 years. This was a slightly more civilised affair, however, with the only notable casualties being the Haggis and Chickens who were on the night’s menu.

INCA Award – Best Community Project

INCA – the Independent Networks Co-operative Association – is the body representing all independent, community and other alternative network (alt-net) operators in the UK.

At their 2018 Awards in London on 5th November, we’re very pleased to say that we took the award for Best Community Project. We regard that as recognition of the huge effort by the community, individuals and our ISP partners, Bogons, that have gone into the founding, planning, fund-raising, design and doing of our network. So all we’ve got to do now is get the ties off, get back out into the fields and keep digging – we’re not finished yet! And congratulations to all the other award winners for helping pull the UK into the twenty-first century, despite all the blockers put in the way by incumbent operators and egregious officialdom.

BCB named as one of Scotland’s Top Rural Innovators

Balquhidder Community Broadband has been named as one of five examples of outstanding rural innovation in Scotland, after  winning the Transport and Infrastructure category of the 2018 Scottish Rural Innovators Awards.

Held every two years, the awards are organised and hosted by Scottish Rural Action to highlight excellence in rural innovation in meeting the needs of rural communities. The winning projects will all be showcased at the Scottish Rural Parliament which is being held in Stranraer from 14-16 November.

Along with last week’s Stirling Provost’s Civic award, it’s good that we’re getting at degree of recognition outside the immediate industry for the dozen years of campaigning and hard work that have got us all to where we are now.

Here is Scottish Rural Action’s press release in full…

Continue reading BCB named as one of Scotland’s Top Rural Innovators

The Big Pull

It’s astonishing what can be achieved when a community pulls together! (sorry…). With today’s goals being to lay 3km of 96- fibre-in-duct backbone from Dhanakosa to Monachyle Beag on the Northern Loop  and to lay 800m of ducting to connect the Southern Loop from Tuarach to Monachyle Mhor, we put out the call. And our community responded: no less than thirty people turned out to form a human tugging and pulling chain over some seriously rough and muddy terrain.  Continue reading The Big Pull

Moving Your Phone Service to the Internet

Once you’ve got yourself connected to our spiffy new fibre network, you’ll probably still have your landline phone number and the BT landline over which it’s delivered to your house. It doesn’t matter who you use to provide your phone service, it still comes in over that ancient BT copper wire, and of course you’re charged line rental and call charges for using it – most of us have been paying £25-30 a month for this.

The good news is that you don’t need to do this any more: you can move your existing number into an online telephone service over our fibre connection, ditch your BT line altogether and thereafter only pay for the calls you make, with no line rental. Oh, and the sound quality is much, much better.

The technology used is called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short.  In many cases, you can also continue to use your existing telephones, with the aid of a small adapter.

So this is how to set up VoIP over BCB’s fibre (or indeed, anyone else’s) network.

Continue reading Moving Your Phone Service to the Internet

EU Documentary: Some Digging, Some Arm-Waving

Anyone remember the EU? Just the world’s most powerful trading and cultural bloc, and the entity that’s done more for Scottish rural regeneration than Westminster managed in centuries? Yes, that one. Anyway, given that we’ve had a useful amount of EU funding (via LEADER) for our project, they sent a film crew along to make a couple of documentaries about us, where we’ve got to and where we’re going in future. It’s now live on the EU’s YouTube channel and (small fanfare) here it is…

BT Price Rises & Contract Changes

The price checking web site, moneysupermarket.com has flagged that, on 16 September 2018, BT will be raising its prices, for the second time this year.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/utilities/2018/06/BT-to-hike-prices-in-September-heres-what-we-know-so-far

However, as they’re also changing contract terms at the same time, anyone who is locked into a term contract with BT can cancel without penalty at that point.

So if anyone is not moving to BCB’s service (I mean, it’s only 250-2000x faster than BT’s ‘offering’ around here) because of a BT contract lock-in, September would seem to be the time to make that change. 

Our tariff is £35/month for householders, with no extra costs and no limits, for 1,000Mb/s on both upload and download. BT, and any provider (e.g. Sky) using BT’s 19th century local network, is limited to 0-4Mb/s download (and less that 0.5Mb/s upload) hereabouts, on a good day. If the wind’s blowing the wrong way, that could be zero, for days at a time.

And thanks to our friends at B4RN for spotting this before we did.

The Poetry of Fibre…

This is what happens when you’ve had your house ready to be connected for a couple of months but you’re still waiting for the splicers to turn up: poetry. This from our very patient local resident rhymer, Penny:

If only I could splice a fibre,
I'd become a web subscriber,
Reach out to the world at a guaranteed speed
And from frustration forever be freed.
E'en 4G could become cognoscible,
But THAT, I think is a dream impossible ...