Lack of access to reliable and quality broadband continues to be the number 1 issue affecting businesses in our LEADER area. Superfast would be nice too, but sometimes feels a distant dream as we wait for BT to upgrade our telephone exchanges - some may never be upgraded as there are too few premises attached to them or they are too far/too difficult to be upgraded. Some communities have already risen to the challenge and are finding their own solutions - such as the communities of Balquhidder and Blair Logie. There's also the problem of premises attached to upgraded exchanges finding that they are more than 1.2km by copper wire from their exchange so their signal has actually got worse!
So what to do? And who can help?
Well to start with, have a chat with your local Community Council or Development Trust to find out if others are having the same problem as you. There may well be a group already looking at possible solutions (and may appreciate your help). In Stirling there is also a great network of knowledgeable broadband campaigners convened by Stirling Council - its called the Broadband Delivery Group. They meet every 6 weeks and Community Broadband Scotland and LEADER also attend. Every rural community is invited, and most attend. They provide and great sounding board service as communities talk through their ideas for broadband solutions.
The group has already identified a need for communities to access project management expertise at a local level to progress project ideas to reality (alongside the excellent expertise of Community Broadband Scotland who can advise on possible solutions). As a result LEADER is exploring a possible community broadband project manager role to work with specific communities for set periods of time to take forward identified projects.
If you think this would be a good idea, and it would be useful to you and your community, please let us know. Equally, if you think this would be a terrible idea, please let us know too firstname.lastname@example.org