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.
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
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 once you’re connected to the fibre: 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 will be 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
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
We set up BCB after years of trying to persuade BT to do something – anything – to improve local broadband. Where they’ve been consistent is their contention that our area is not a viable commercial proposition even for their half-baked FTTC service. They wouldn’t even engage with us to help develop our model through their community outreach programme, although they did tell The Telegraph that we’d turned them down. Not so. Continue reading BT Moving in Mysterious Ways
The original R100 was the most successful British airship of the 1930s, insofar as it never actually crashed and burned, unlike rather too many of its contemporaries. So let’s hope that’s a good omen, as the Scottish Government’s new broadband programme has been given the same name. In this case though, it stands for “Reach 100%”. By that, they mean provision of coverage of 100% of properties with “superfast” broadband by 2021.
Continue reading R100
Things may have been a little quiet publicly on the broadband front, but that simply means that, like the swans on the loch, we’ve been paddling furiously beneath the surface, trying to make headway against rising currents. Those currents have been in the form of some hair-rending bureaucracy that’s been belatedly thrown at us by government bodies and which are currently causing us months of delay. So let’s first rewind to this time last year, when we entered into the procurement process required by Community Broadband Scotland for public funding. We followed their process and went out to market to solicit bids for a future-proof broadband service that could be provided at a market-competitive rate. What we got back were a few bids that were mostly poorly prepared, didn’t meet local needs and which offered equipment that would need replacing every few years. Uncool. Continue reading Project Update: June 2016
Yes, these are pictures of a nuclear bunker, this being the forthcoming Bogons data centre near Comrie. It is also where our fibre should meet that of the wider world and will, we hope, achieve economies of scale from aggregation with other users that will make our network ever cheaper to run: if we just bought our backhaul (the link between the glen and the wider internet) at about the same initial cost from a commercial provider, we’d still have to pay Openreach’s Excess Construction Costs to get the link from the Strathyre Exchange to the entrance to the glen, but we’d never thereafter gain any benefit from others using the wider link. With the bunker, the idea is that we start at par and then go down in cost from there.
Continue reading Two Steps Forward, One Step Back…