Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Super-Fast or Super-Slow Broadband?

Superfast broadband is due to 'go live' in the Ardnamurchan area some time in 2016.  Homes close to the Kilchoan exchange already enjoy speeds around 5Mb/s download and 0.7 upload.  However, anywhere remote from this exchange, the very areas which most need improvement, such as Achosnich, have far less.  Worse still, Glenborrodale has download speeds as dire as 0.5Mb/s, and on the north coast households have to buy expensive satellite connection.  Yet these are the very areas which are not going to benefit from the upgrade.

A small group of residents are fighting to get this situation changed.  To do this, they have sent questionnaires out to all households in the Glenborrodale exchange area (Laga and Glenborrodale), Camas Inas in the Acharacle exchange, and, in the West Ardnamurchan area, Portuairk, Achosnich, Sanna, Achnaha and the north coast (Fascadale, Branault, Swordle, Ockle).  They sent out the questionnaires in early December, and reminders have just been despatched to those who didn't reply.  For the campaign to be effective, they badly need replies from everyone in the areas of poor broadband, and to be contacted by anyone in those areas who has not had a form.

Already they have strong evidence that at least six businesses are unwilling to locate to this area due to slow broadband speeds.  There is also evidence of house sales falling through, and visitors cancelling holiday cottage lets. The campaigners need more information if they are to put effective pressure on BT and Highlands & Islands Enterprise. It is important that we get this done now while the new fibre cable is being laid - it may not be possible to do it later which would mean that we would be stuck with present speeds for the foreseeable future. Websites are getting bigger which means that what is now considered an acceptable speed will no longer be adequate. If only a few questionnaires are returned Broadband Scotland might be quite justified in assuming that the area is not interested in faster speeds.

Sandra Byrne, Community Broadband Scotland Adviser, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is attending the West Ardnamurchan Community Council meeting on 2nd February to talk about the situation and answer questions.  It's obviously very important that those who want to see their broadband speeds increased should attend this meeting. Sandra describes herself as, "the Community Broadband Scotland adviser serving Lochaber, Skye, Wester-Ross and the Western Isles and based in Auchtertyre near Kyle of Lochalsh. Community Broadband Scotland is a Scotland wide programme which is delivered and managed by HIE. We have £7.5 million of Scottish Government funding to support communities with poor broadband provision in the hardest to reach areas. We compliment the two fibre roll-out programmes by supporting the final 5% across Scotland that won't be reached by 2017."

If you haven't had a questionnaire, or require any information about the campaign, please contact Dave Kime at

1 comment:

  1. Visiting family in York and Kilchoan Blog opened in a few seconds. At home in Glenborrodale it can take several minutes for the pictures to open so please support this campaign. Richard Houston