Ullapool, Lochbroom, Little Lochbroom, Coigach, Gruinard Bay, and Elphin are set to benefit from a new community led initiative that will see wireless broadband bringing an up to 50 Mbps service to the 1,434 premises in the area with building work starting today and due to go live in January and complete by the end of 2017.
Highland Community Broadband is the body behind the service and some 209 founder subscribers who will be the first to be connected and get 14 months service for the price of 12 have raised £85,000 to get the scheme up and running. Total cost is estimated at £164,500 with the aim of connecting 650 homes by July and a further 850 by the end of 2017.
"Besides the attraction of reliable superfast Broadband, I became a Founder Subscriber because I support the idea of community funded infrastructure projects which benefit the whole community. Even if some people cannot offer the lump sum to become a Founder Subscriber they can join the scheme when it is up and running.
It will also encourage the retention and relocation of young people and families, which will mean that existing services and local small businesses continue to be used and will help develop new businesses and enable existing ones to flourish"Sandy Mackenzie, from Lochside
Residential services will start from £20/month and £50/month for businesses, and of course no need for telephone line rental, self install including router will be £25 or people can opt for a standard install at £100.
The service already has competition in the form of cabinets 1,2,3 & 4 on the Ullapool exchange that offer VDSL2 in the heart of Ullapool but community level projects have the great advantage of being run by local faces and thus may appeal more to those who want to eschew the anonymous large companies. We will add the planned postcodes for the wireless network ahead of the network going live, and once it is live and confirmed superfast speeds are seen add it to the coverage system.