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Balquhidder Community Broadband ISP Project Scoops Rural Award

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 (8:25 am) - Score 977
balquhidder bcb fibre optic build wide

The Balquhidder Community Broadband (CIC) project, which with support from UK ISP Bogons and the Stirling Council has begun building its own 1Gbps FTTP broadband network in a remote part of Scotland, has successfully won the Scottish Rural Action (SRA) Transport & Infrastructure Award for 2018.

The deployment started earlier this year with the community of Balquhidder (here and here), including some 190 properties in Balquhidder, Ballimore and Kirkton glens, in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Progress so far has “been incremental” and to date 25/32 km of core fibre has been laid with 60 premises already connected (the remainder are scheduled for connection at the end of 2018).

According to the SRA, “The publicity that the project has received has resulted in people now choosing to move to Balquhidder, a local developer who has struggled for years to sell his plots has recently sold four because of the location and world-class fibre broadband in the area. The economic uplift model created by the community for the project suggests an annual trading uplift of €1M.”

Suffice to say that BCB’s hard work has now been recognised by the SRA, which has praised them and several others for being “outstanding examples of rural innovation.”

Emma Cooper, Chief Executive of Scottish Rural Action, said:

“The Rural Innovators Awards are incredibly inspirational and showcase just some of the amazing work led by communities in rural Scotland.

More than two and a half thousand people voted to select the winners, and we are delighted with the quality of the submissions and the impact achieved by each of the winners in the five categories.

Each one of these projects demonstrate how communities can take action to address the challenges and opportunities their particular communities face, they are all outstanding examples of rural community empowerment. I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists and the winners for their wider achievements for their communities, as well as for their well-deserved Rural Innovators Awards.”

BCB will now receive a fully funded place at the Scottish Rural Parliament, where they will present their project to hundreds of delegates representing communities, organisations and public agencies from across Scotland. Surely the ideal place to pitch the many advantages of a community supported Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network. Nice work.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. chris conder

    Absolutely brilliant project, well done to the community and all the amazing volunteers who have built it. It shows what can be done if you have grit. Going where the big telcos fear to tread and setting an example to the whole of Scotland.

    • Fastman

      Chris not fear to tread in any shape or form (that phrase in unhelpful and incorrect) but the reality is the cost of providing that network would have been way out side any commercial / Government investment case in any programme . so all power to the community for managing a project / Delivering a project that meets the needs of this very diverse and disparetly connected community.

    • FibreFred

      Why would anyone “fear to tread” in Scotland.

      If there’s money to be made anywhere (including Scotland) they’ll be there in a shot.

  2. A_Builder

    Fantastic work.

    Elbow grease applied. Earned out in increased property values.

    The community benefits from what the community did.

    What is not to like.

    Unfortunately because we mis read the EU State Aid regulations we don’t support this kind of thing. It is pretty simple if nobody is commercially interested in providing [the service] then providing the subsidy doesn’t distort the market [for the service] because there isn’t a functional market [for that service] so intervention doesn’t disadvantage any players in the market [for that service].

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