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Crying Child Fronts Broadband Campaign for Rural Scotland Hamlet

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 (2:41 pm) - Score 677

A tearful 8 year old boy, Scott Burnett, from the remote Scottish hamlet of Clola in Buchan (Aberdeenshire) has written an emotional letter to BT in the hope that the operator might find a way to improve the local broadband provision. “Everyone in my school has broadband and I don’t“, said Scott.

The hamlet and other nearby Buchan communities exist right on the edges of BT’s local Mintlaw telephone exchange, which means that in some locations the ADSL connectivity can struggle to deliver Internet download speeds of even just 0.25Mbps.

As a result the local Moss of Cruden Community Association (MOCCA) has been busy campaigning for better broadband and Scott’s case now appears to be helping to drum up additional support.

Michèle Emslie, Local Councillor and Vice-Chairwoman of MOCCA, said (here):

Scott’s friends are all online and he can’t join them. He’s been asking why and actually wrote that letter crying. That’s how serious it is to him. Broadband is the fourth utility – you can’t live without it.

We’re in an internet not-spot here and we’ve got a strong case. Now we need to speak to people willing to have a mast or box on their land.”

The good news is that MOCCA has since gained the full support of Aberdeenshire Council and if the events of last week’s public meeting with the Scottish Government’s Community Broadband Scotland project are anything to go by then the future may soon be looking a little brighter.

MOCCA Status Update – 10th April

We are very pleased to say that following the great response and overwhelming enthusiasm from everyone in supporting this project and with the support of Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), we are now ready to move on to the next stage. This will involve MOCCA continuing to collate information regarding residents, businesses and home workers in the area.

This information will be information held by MOCCA (data protected) and only statistics gathered will be used to apply for funding with the expertise of Shaun Marley and the rest of the team at CBS. We will start by working with the information and contacts that we have gathered this evening and as suggested look forward to our next meeting.

It’s hoped that the survey phase will be completed by 21st May 2015 and then, if a solution can be found, it’s just possible that the first connections could be ready to go live by the end of this year. However it usually takes a little longer than that for such developments to happen.

Meanwhile the Scottish Government’s £410m Digital Scotland programme is also working to ensure that 95% of premises across the country can access a “fibre broadband” service by the end of 2017, although areas like Clola tend to fall within the final 5% and a connectivity solution for those yet to be found.

Additional funding has been made available to improve coverage in such areas, although the Scottish Government has yet to announce their plans for that and as such it’s too early to know whether Clola will be able to benefit.

However solutions can still be found for remote areas and one recent example comes via way of Long Melford in Suffolk (England). Part of the village already has access to fast broadband, but the sparse northern half had until recently been left to struggle with slower connectivity.

The report suggests that BT had originally planned to upgrade the northern part (here), but they eventually dropped that idea after discovering that the work would be too expensive.

The good news is that, following a 14 month campaign, another £100,000 has now been allocated to help BT to complete the village’s upgrade to FTTC superfast broadband and this should be finished by September 2015. Hopefully Clola has the same sort of luck.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar Diane Burnett says:

    Hi, it’s great to see that some people are listening to my little boy but sadly not the people he wanted to, 6 weeks after writing his letter we still have not heard anything from BT, come on BT do you not have a heart!!!

  2. Avatar Steve Spearey says:

    I’m afraid BT have been granted a monopoly on setting up fibre broadband and they do not care in the slightest. Here in my exchange Carew in Wales we have fibre broadband at least that’s what their publicity says. Except we cannot receive it…..yet.

    However, the situation has not changed in many, many months. We just keep waiting.

    The minister was on the TV proclaiming how well the roll out is going. Must be looking at the dodgy BT/Open Reach figures.

    I am going to move house to somewhere that has a decent connection. It does not have to be fibre just a reasonable connection.

    Hopeless, hopeless hopeless. I have tried writing to my Assembly Member who was as much use as a chocolate teapot. “Just have to keep waiting” she said.

    I wish you more luck than I have had.

    The minister said 4G was an option – Yeah, right. I cannot even get a mobile signal let alone 4G. These people think that everything is like Westminster! But it’s not.

    Once again – Good Luck

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