Having access to broadband is now essential to being an included citizen in the 21st century, indeed, broadband access has been described by many as “the fourth utility”.
Access to the internet can help transform people’s lives; it can help people to access to public services more easily, achieve higher levels of educational attainment and improve employment prospects, which in turn can boost local economies.
In many rural areas, residents and businesses are very widely distributed/dispersed but have high expectations and requirements, broadband is not only essential for these residents and businesses, but is critical for local growth and tourism. There is evidence that people choose where to live, work and take holidays based on whether there is access to fast broadband.
The Broadband Project is a new strategic project funded by FVL LEADER which will support community lead broadband projects.
It will work with communities who will not benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme to explore solutions.
This will include the creation, improvement and expansion of passive broadband infrastructure and the provision of access to broadband and public e-government.
The project will also work to increase the number of people using digital services by encouraging communities and rural business to get online and enjoy the opportunities offered by digital technology.
FVL Leader has appointed a Community Broadband Development Officer, Shaun Marley, who will work with communities, business and other relevant organisations to help identify gaps and then advice and support these groups in obtaining an appropriate solution.
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Balquhidder Community Broadband CIC is one of the groups Shaun has been assisting, see above for a video of their project.