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Wireless Network Set to Help Fill Perthshire’s Broadband Gaps

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 (1:24 pm) - Score 1,151

The Highland Perthshire Communities Partnership, a registered charity that has support from Atholl Estates and the Perth and Kinross Council in Scotland, has announced that it won’t wait for BT’s upgrade and instead plans to fill-in some of the regions broadband notspots and slowspots by building a new wireless network.

A pilot of the new network, which will initially cover the communities of Amulree, Trochry and Struan, is currently being setup with 5 small telecoms masts that should be able to deliver a broadband download speed of up to 8Mbps (Megabits per second) to locals.

According to HPCP’s website, this will allow the network to provide those speeds to around 20-30 subscribers in Phase One and future upgrades would aim to both expand upon this coverage and to deliver speeds of up to around 20Mbps.

Bruce Patterson, HPCP’s Project Officer, said (The Courier):

We have been working on this issue for more than a year and a half but only now have we made a breakthrough. We are committed to providing a credible service to Highland Perthshire, based on a model that has been used and proven to work at Laggan.

Though the BT roll-out is coming, there are vast areas of rural Perthshire that will be untouched and we know that dates for some communities have slipped from 2015 to 2017. If we do not do something ourselves then businesses and communities will struggle — for some 2017 will simply be too late.

We don’t yet know how much money we will need for the entire project but it is our ambition to ensure that the whole of Highland Perthshire is a wifi zone. We will be a community business and all profits will be poured back into the business and into our communities.”

It’s important to point out that the Perth and Kinross Council has already begun the first phase of their public and privately funded project with BT to extend the operators fixed line superfast broadband (FTTC/P) network out to 70% of local premises by 2015 and then 90% by December 2017 (here). It’s likely that BDUK’s Superfast Extension Programme may also result in a further expansion of coverage.

Never the less it looks as if at least some communities in the region will soon gain access to a stop-gap solution other than Satellite, which is a positive development. Further details are due to be unveiled at a public meeting in Amulree Village Hall on Thursday evening.

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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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