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Scotland announces £5 million fund for remote next gen broadband solutions
Thursday 09 August 2012 13:12:27 by Andrew Ferguson

A fund of £5 million value may sound very small, but assuming it is not wasted on consultancy fees, this amount can make a big difference to the smallest and most remote communities in Scotland. The new Community Broadband Scotland Initiative has been announced by the Scottish Government, with the aim to get better services into those areas that will miss out through the larger partnerships that should push better broadband to most of Scotland by 2015, with the ongoing target that by 2020 these services of 30 Mbps and faster will be available to all.

The initiative was launched in Elvanfoot (South Lanarkshire), which is a small community located just to the west of the A74(M), and is over three miles from the nearest telephone exchange. The Elvanfoot Development Group which is a local group, is aiming to do a full fibre deployment (FTTH) for homes and businesses in the community. As such it is likely to receive funding from the initial round where £1m is available, the projects in this pioneer phase will then be used as case studies to help other communities more forward on their projects.

The Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) that is the £20m fund for helping community solutions in the UK, serves a very similar purpose, but has come in for lots of criticism over how its funding system works. It will be interesting to see how things work out for the Scottish scheme, Scotland is well versed in spending money to bring broadband to communities, back in 2005 a fair amount of money was spent via an open tender to bring 1st generation broadband to every community in Scotland and the Highlands and Islands has had projects running for sometime to improve connectivity.

Comments

Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
Here's hoping they manage the FTTH with minimal costs. Such flagship projects need to be efficient if the beancounters out there are to commit to other projects.

For what it's worth, the Crawford exchange (WSCRW) appears on the TBB map, but the Elvanfoot exchange (WSELV) does not. The latter apparently has:

43 residential premises
14 non-residential premises.

Perhaps the low quantity of premises allows for FTTH at low cost.
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
Correction. WSELV does appear, but it's a hike and didn't appear on the scale I was viewing. It seems Elvanfoot might be closer to the Crawford exchange...which raises other questions.
Posted by billyliar over 4 years ago
It does not really matter how far Elvanfoot is from an exchange, how far away are they from afordable backhaul?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
At a guess there will be some going up the A74M e.g. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, C&W and many others. Now breaking in to splice into a fibre might be a bit more fun.

Or put another way, closest easily useable fibre may be at the BT exchanges.
Posted by billyliar over 4 years ago
Useable yes, buyable, no.
Posted by Amshru over 4 years ago
Greetings from Elvanfoot. The project was initiated by our development group at a community consultation in March of this year. Although the number of premises served by the Elvanfoot exchange is only 57, that doesn't take into account the premises that currently have no service because of lack of capacity at the exchange. Backhaul has been an issue so far - as a small community group, we've found it difficult to identify anything remotely affordable. The project is likely to include 750 rural premises, not just that in Elvanfoot alone.
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