Scottish rural broadband network wins European Broadband Award
Telephone box in Oykel Bridge, Sutherland - Image credit: Phillip Capper, Wikimedia Commons
A Scottish rural broadband network has won an award for bringing connectivity to the Highlands and islands.
The RemIX project was awarded the ‘Future-proof and quality of service’ category of the European Broadband Awards for providing a broadband service across a 2000 square km area of the west coast of Scotland, spanning both sea and mountainous mainland.
It was the only UK project to win an award from 66 entries, which are presented by the European Commission for innovative broadband projects across the EU.
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RemIX is a design for a distributed internet exchange for remote and rural regions currently being used by HUBS C.I.C., a not-for-profit membership organisation of community network operators, to build and operate the West Highlands and Islands Exchange (WHIX).
Together, RemIX and WHIX have established a new length of broadband infrastructure for the West Coast Backbone, a £267,000 research project led by the University of Edinburgh, with participation from the University of Stirling and funded by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).
RemIX allows small access networks along the west coast of Scotland to access good quality and affordable backhaul to provide broadband services to remote, sparsely populated areas.
It is hoped that this model can be replicated in other rural areas struggling with poor connectivity.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “Scotland is playing a key role in overcoming the challenges associated with delivering high quality connectivity to our most rural communities.
“Availability of high quality, affordable backhaul is one of those challenges and the RemIX project is generating some hugely valuable learning in this area.
“That is why Community Broadband Scotland supported the project and I am delighted that it has won such a prestigious award – the only UK project to be recognised by the EU.”
Marwan Fayed, speaking on behalf of RemIX, said: “HUBS C.I.C., as well as the universities of Edinburgh and Stirling are both honoured and proud to be recognised in this manner.
“We are particularly grateful to the communities and agencies that welcomed and supported us.
“RemIX was engineered to be easily reproducible, while adhering to known internet standards.
“It is our sincerest desire to expand the West Highlands implementation across Scotland and the UK, with additional proposals for investigations in Serbia and South Africa.”