Tomintoul & Glenlivet

Community Broadband Update

Community Broadband Update

We are pleased to confirm that planning permission has been applied for by BT for the new fibre cabinet at Tomintoul. This cabinet, which would be located at the exchange, forms part of a new wave of infrastructure which is being developed for the first time.  Whilst a date for installation cannot be confirmed until planning has passed, this is a great step forwards in seeing part of the community upgraded to the superfast broadband connection. We will keep you updated as dates are confirmed.

In the main, the Highlands and Islands Next Generation Broadband roll-out is delivering fibre based broadband through Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology.  This brings the fibre to the cabinet and then the services run on existing copper wires to people’s homes.  In Tomintoul there are homes and businesses which are not currently connected through a cabinet but directly to the exchange, known as Exchange Only (EO) lines.

Modelling work is taking place to modify the network – including building new cabinets for EO customers. This work will happen in tandem to the cabinet roll-out and the first new cabinets are due to be started in the Highlands and Islands region before the end of the year. To ensure accuracy, roll-out information is usually available to local customers a few months prior to availability, with detailed info prior to activation.

Around three quarters of properties that are served from the Tomintoul exchange will benefit from the superfast broadband upgrades.  Those that will not benefit are those properties that are located furthest from the exchange as there is a limit to the distance over which services can travel along copper cabling.

The Highlands and Islands Next Generation Broadband roll-out project and BT make quarterly announcements around the roll-out and have still to announce the areas that will be part of the July roll-out. We continue to push for further information on this.  At this stage the expectation is that approximately a quarter of all properties served from the Glenlivet exchange and approximately half of all properties served from the Ballindalloch exchange may benefit from the superfast broadband roll-out.

We are in the process of finalising a pilot project to demonstrate the technology behind the wireless broadband solution that the Community Broadband Project would utilise, this will be delivered to the Braes of Glenlivet Hall through a link to backhaul in Tomintoul.  This will be freely available to residents and visitors via a link at the Braes of Glenlivet Hall and will be accessed either within the hall or outside as the access code will be available.  It is hoped that this will allow the community and prospective subscribers to test the system and service, with a view to signing up to the community broadband service when launched.

We will be doing further mapping exercises with CBS, identifying those areas considered least likely to benefit from DSSB roll out, with a view to implementing a community scheme in those areas.  To ensure the process can be implemented as quickly as possible thereafter we are organising a meeting with the planners to discuss planning application submissions for potential mast sites.

Whilst the superfast rollout commitment is to reach 84% of properties within the Highlands & Islands, it was noted from the outset that there would be a number of areas that require a different solution given geographic dispersal of properties and smaller populations.  It was for this reason that the Community Broadband Solution was introduced and the Scottish Government invested an initial £5 million into delivering local solutions which will fill these gaps.

As an area we are extremely lucky to be benefitting from both superfast broadband upgrades and receiving Community Broadband Scotland support as many other areas local to ourselves will not benefit from any upgrades as part of the Highlands and Islands Next Generation Broadband roll-out  process.  We continue to work with both CBS and the roll out project, which is led by HIE, to try and ensure all properties throughout the area benefit from broadband upgrades, either through the fibre roll out programme or the community broadband scheme.