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Final Cabinet Installed for Balquhidder 1Gbps Community FTTH Build

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 (2:00 pm) - Score 1,122

The Balquhidder Community Broadband (CIC) project, which is supported by UK ISP Bogons and the Stirling Council in Scotland, has installed the final street cabinet of their community built and 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network.

The volunteer-led deployment, which began in early 2018 (here) and is expected to cost around £430,000, ultimately aims to cover nearly 200 properties in the remote rural area of Balquhidder (around Loch Doine and Loch Voil). The good news is that the team has just installed their final street cabinet outside the Mhor 84 motel in Kingshouse, which means that the core network is nearly done.

We now have everything in place to complete the core network and to then build out to the remaining extended legs, to Balquhidder Station, Immeroin and Inverlochlarig – the four pits needed on the Inverlochlarig route should be dug in the next week, weather permitting,” said Richard Harris, BCB Director and Founder.

Admittedly some key challenges remain, such as the A84 crossing and the ducting from Auchtubh to Mhor 84 that still has to be built before optical fibre can be blown from Auchleskine. But once that’s completed the BCB team will be in a position to connect all the properties in the east half of the glen. The following map from December 2018 gives some indication of the progress, albeit now a couple of months out of date.

balquhidder december 2018 progress map

The original plan was to complete this network by the end of December 2018, although the nature of such a remote and community dependent build means it’s now due to finish in Spring 2019. Nevertheless that should not distract from the enormously impressive effort in getting to this stage. Locals typically pay just £35 per month and a £135 one-off install fee to receive the 1Gbps unlimited service (symmetrical speeds).

In terms of funding, around £100K came from Bogons, plus £175K from Stirling Council and some extra joint funding with them and the LEADER EU scheme of £30K. The remaining £130,000 seems likely to be tackled by the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme or similar subsidies (c.40-50 businesses in the area may qualify for this).

However it hasn’t all been plain sailing and a couple of houses recently ran into trouble after local pigs decided to chomp on the attractive bright orange coloured ducting. “Please do try to keep your porkers away from the ducting – once they’re in a field or garden, we wouldn’t bet on solid concrete to stop them!,” said Richard. Alas no pictures exist of the attack.

For those less familiar with this project we’ll re-post the documentary video below, which was published by the EU last year.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar chris conder says:

    Brilliant project, well done to a community of grit.

  2. Avatar Optimist says:

    These Scottish pigs aren’t stupid. They know the benefits of a diet rich in fibre!

  3. Avatar Brin Richards says:

    Well done, huge amount of hard work but worth it when you can sit back and realise what you have atchieved.

  4. Avatar craski says:

    +1 on the well done. Great effort.

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