Broadband project for island communities
Speeds set to increase from below 2 Mbps up to 50 Mbps
Islands and mainland communities on Scotland’s west coast could access broadband up to 25 times faster than current speeds as part of a new project.
Eight of the hardest to reach communities within the country are involved in the community-led initiative, which could see residents currently struggling with speeds below 2 Mbps able to access up to 50 Mbps
Colonsay, Mull, Iona, Jura, Lismore, Islay, Luing and the peninsula of Craignish are working together to create community-owned GigaPlus Argyll.
Almost £1m funding has been approved by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) to support the roll-out of the community-owned wireless network, which will bring access to more than 1,400 homes and businesses.
CBS is a Scottish Government project designed to reach areas unlikely to benefit from the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay, said: “This is a pioneering project overcoming significant geographical, engineering and commercial challenges to bring superfast broadband to homes and businesses not only scattered across communities, but in this case, across islands.
“Every day we are building on the growing broadband infrastructure, reaching further into our rural and remote areas.
“Every forward step supports the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver first-rate connectivity in Scotland by 2020, ensuring we are a world class digital nation.”
The south of Mull and Lismore will be connected first followed by Luing and the northern end of Jura. Other communities will follow in phases with project completion expected by next June.
Moray Finch, chairman of GigaPlus Argyll and General Manager of the Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT), which is leading on the initiative, said: “Connections in all of these areas are poor, many with speeds less than 2 Mbps, and the project will deliver transformational change to island residents and businesses.
“To go from the super slow lane to being able to offer affordable broadband to meet the needs of homeowners as well as uncontended commercial connections for businesses will open up huge opportunities for us.”
CBS director Mark Tate added: “This project is truly ground-breaking in the way it brings together the community, the private sector and public sector advice, support and funding to deliver a robust and sustainable next generation solution.”
Lincoln-based internet service provider AB Internet Ltd has been selected to build and run the network.
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