Category Archives: Local

Background, possibilities and current state of local broadband provision for the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre area.

4G in the Glen

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

(Another) Big Push, Pull and Haul

IMPORTANT: We are aiming to splice the fibre to properties between the village and Mhor 84 starting from 15 May. So, if you’re a householder on that route, please make sure that you’ve got the drop tubing to your house in place and buried before then if you want to be connected, if this hasn’t already been done. We can’t guarantee when any properties that miss out this time will be connected.

For the last couple of months, the team has been working flat out to get the ducting in to enable us to get to the entire eastern end of the glen, from the village east to Mhor 84. 

After a huge push in late April to get the job done, last weekend saw the fibre blown into the final stretch from Auchleskine to the cabinet at the village hall. 

Continue reading (Another) Big Push, Pull and Haul

Christmas 2018 Update

After the splicing work in mid-December week we have 71 (36%) of all the properties in the glen connected, including Rhuveag, all of Craigruie and the Boathouse.  The full loop around Loch Voil is now complete, which enables us to start work on reaching the outlying properties towards Inverlochlarig and Immeroin. Monachyle Mhor is now at last online itself. Completion of the final backbone ducting from Auchtubh to Mhor 84 is just awaiting final agreement from BEAR Scotland, after which we can get our contractor to work on the road section of that dig. As soon as that’s complete, we can blow fibre east from the village and start splicing and connecting everything between Auchleskine and Mhor 84. Continue reading Christmas 2018 Update

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 ...

BCB launches its network! [Press Release]

 With nearly a dozen properties now connected, and the work to reach other sectors of 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]

Public Meeting, 18th March 2018

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!

Wayleaves

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