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B4GAL Targets Community Fibre Broadband for 9 Rural Lanarkshire Villages

Monday, October 1st, 2012 (9:47 am) - Score 811

A new broadband action group called B4GAL (Broadband for Glencaple and Lowther) appears to be proceeding with plans that could eventually result in nine rural South Lanarkshire (Scotland, UK) villages being connected up to a new community-owned and superfast Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network.

At present many of the related upland villages, which include Abington, Crawford, Crawfordjohn, Elvanfoot, Lamington, Leadhills, Roberton, Wanlockhead and Wiston, can only receive sub-2Mbps speeds via the existing fixed line telecoms infrastructure (largely delivered via BT’s older 20CN network).

The group understandably wants a more future proof solution and doesn’t fancy waiting another 7-8 years to see if the Scottish Government, BT or Europe’s Digital Agenda strategy is able to resolve their problem. So, in taking a leaf out of B4RN’s book, they’ve instead decided to go it alone.

B4GAL Statement

B4GAL (Broadband for Glencaple and Lowther) is a local community broadband action group, whose members are volunteer local residents.

Our vision is a community-owned broadband social enterprise that delivers Next Generation Broadband through fibre optic cable to every home (FTTH). Any profits that are made will be put back into sustaining other community projects, while allowing us all to escape the handicap of rural connectivity that leads to the digital divide between urban and rural communities.

As it stands B4GAL is still a long way from becoming a reality but they are now beginning to progress towards the network mapping stage, which will be largely based off evidence collected via local surveys, and should hopefully have something to present in the not too distant future.

The group is also known to be exploring whether or not it could benefit from the Scottish Government’s new £5 million Community Broadband Scotland Initiative (CBSI), which aims act as a “one-stop-shop” to provide rural community groups with “information” and “practical support” to help them find better internet access solutions (original news).

Indeed the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil (MSP), originally came to Elvanfoot in August 2012 and met with local residents as part of the related CBSI announcement.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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