Just as the rest of the world discovers 5G mobile networks (which is a whole other story), we finally have 4G coverage in the Balquhidder area. That is on the EE network, and via their new masts that were installed for the new Emergency Services Network (and don’t get us started on THAT).
So, if you’re thinking of moving to EE to take advantage of this, be aware that there are a few things to consider:
- The network locally, as in many rural areas, runs at 800MHz, a lower frequency than most 4G networks (including most of the rest of EE’s). That has two effects – it reaches further (good) and has a lower data bandwidth (less good). Anywhere else, your phone will automatically choose whichever frequency is available. At Stronvar, I’m getting about 5Mb/s download and 2-3Mb/s upload indoors and about 5Mb/s both ways out of doors.
- It’s 4G only, which means that you either have 4G or nothing – unlike other places, it doesn’t fall back to 3G when you run out of 4G coverage. Again, that’s only an issue where a base station is 4G only, such as in the glen. This means that there may be some dead patches in the glen, particularly heading up towards Monachyle Mhor – I haven’t had a chance to test this out yet.
- Latency is ridiculously bad here – around 650ms and about 10x worse than it should be – which could cause problems for some online services. I have no idea why that’s the case – there’s no good reason for it.
- If you buy an EE SIM for your phone, EE doesn’t automatically configure your account/SIM for the 800MHz network, so it appears that you have no coverage. It takes a call to EE support to get this sorted.
There’s no sign yet of Vodafone or O2 getting their act together on 4G for the local area yet, despite the latter putting in for planning consent several years ago. So if you need data coverage when you’re away from your broadband’s Wi-Fi and the coverage works for you, EE seems currently to be the only game in town.
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 ...
With the work to install our core network across the glen well under way, it’s finally time to ‘officially’ launch our network to the world at large. So here’s our press release announcing the fact, coinciding with a small ceremony that took place today, in the presence of those who’ve supported us practically and politically, and those who can learn from the example that we and other communities have set.
Continue reading BCB launches its network! [Press Release]
For anyone who hasn’t seen the email notes that were sent around at the beginning of the month (or who has since forgotten!), there’s a public meeting in Balquhidder Village Hall tomorrow, March 18th, between 2-4pm.
This is an opportunity, ahead of our ‘public’ launch, to being yourself up to date with progress and to have any questions you might have answered, so feel free to come and ask us anything (about the broadband, that is).
We look forward to seeing you there!
There has been a little confusion about the notion and need for wayleaves – the written consent BCB needs in order to run its network across anyone’s land.
These exist entirely for everyone’s mutual protection, and to ensure that we have an agreed route across each piece of land, before we start to lay the network. To be fair and consistent, we use a single, standard wayleave document for everyone. Continue reading Wayleaves
What better way could there be to burn off the indolent excesses of Christmas and Hogmanay than head up the hill and help dig in the next leg of our network? Well, I can think of a few, but at least here we can go home with a warm glow of community participation, our innards warmed by Andrea’s excellent soup, even if our feet are freezing. Continue reading New Year, Still Digging
Balquhidder Community Broadband CIC is looking for a Project Officer to help with the delivery by community volunteers of the local fibre broadband network in Balquhidder.
Continue reading Project Officer
Having finally got the health, safety and insurance bureaucracy out of the way, we’ve been able to get properly stuck in with the network dig. Now, there are a couple of ways of going about this: from picking the smallest, least disturbing tools possible and proceeding in a sensitive and non-disruptive manner, to throwing the biggest damn digger you can find at the job, on the principle that it won’t find anything it can’t handle. So guess which we went with?
Continue reading Digging Stronvar
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.
Continue reading About Our Connection…
Amid all the frustrations of trying to follow a public funding process that is clearly being made up by the relevant bodies as they go along, we’ve actually been able to get on with some real work towards the project. We’ve got a model that demonstrates the build cost (we can deliver a 1000+ MB/s network for less than the government’s per premise ‘value’ figure of £3,400 for a 10Mb/s service) and another that shows that the service is sustainable and financially viable. So far, so good.
Continue reading What’s it Worth?