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Ullapool Communities in Scotland Raise £85K to Build Broadband Network

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 (7:51 pm) - Score 764

Last month we reported that several rural communities around Ullapool, Lochbroom, Little Lochbroom, Gruinard Bay, Elphin and Coigach in the Scottish Highlands were aiming to build their own 50Mbps wireless broadband network (here). Happily the project has now begun its build phase after raising £85,000.

Apparently 209 local “founders” helped to raise the necessary funding for the Highland Community Broadband (HCB) network and as a result the first construction work can now begin, although it’s estimated that the full infrastructure cost could reach £164,500. Of the 209 founders, covering 219 premises, some 84% of the total came from residents (each contributing around £400).

The HCB network, which is scheduled to go live during January 2017, should cover a total of 1,434 residential premises in the area (the scheme aims to connect 650 homes by July 2017 and 850 by the end of 2017). Founding subscribers will of course be among the first to get the service installed, while standard subscribers should be able to register from 1st February 2017.

Duncan Cook, HCB Director, said:

“This demonstrates how the community responded to the idea of a local project created without the need for large subscribers or those from outside the area and that lived up to the maxim; ‘Of us, by us and for us’.”

In terms of packages, HCB will offer next generation access as a standard service with unlimited usage, up to 50Mbps download speed and up to 20Mbps upload speed. They will charge customers £25 per month with a one-off £100 installation fee. A low user tariff will also be available at £20 per month.

Once again it’s worth pointing out that Ullapool is also the landing site for one of BT’s longest single subsea fibre optic cable runs in the area (79km between Ullapool and Stornoway) and as a result the operator has already built several up to 80Mbps capable FTTC Street Cabinets in the town, with more due to follow.

However the new community network will also aim to reach some of the even more remote rural areas. HCB’s roll-out will start in Ullapool, before moving on to Southern Lochbroom, Northern Lochbroom, Little Lochbroom, Gruinard Bay, Coigach and finally Elphin.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar Groucho says:

    £25 per month? Have I read that correctly? That seems a good price, and for a remote location. We get 3Mbps here in the ‘affluent south’, where our local police station is up for sale. What are we doing wrong?

    1. Avatar Optimist says:

      As a community enterprise, it is subject to business rates?

    2. Avatar Duncan Cook says:

      You read that correctly Groucho, we intend to keep prices as low as possible for all our subscribers.

      What are you doing wrong? nothing apart from not getting out and doing something about it yourselves I suppose.

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