Balquhidder Community Broadband Project

The project was developed in order to provide the community and businesses based in Balquhidder glen with ultrafast fibre broadband. BCB CIC (Balquhidder Community Broadband) is led by 4 volunteers who needed the support of a paid project manager in order to oversee the build of the infrastructure for the fibre broadband, which would include the community dig and lay of the fibre infrastructure connecting each property. The LEADER project relates to the recruitment of a Project Manager tasked with overview, scheduling and management of the works in delivering the fibre infrastructure to all properties in the Balquhidder area. A fast broadband service is essential for business and community development in all areas of the country, but especially for rural areas where distance from customers, poor transport connections and susceptibility to poor weather conditions in the Winter can be major issues.  Balquhidder is now on track to be first Gigabit Glen in Scotland.

Balquhidder Broadband Photo 1.jpg

Project Aims

-  Make the Balquhidder community sustainable, expandable and future proof in its broadband Internet service provision

-  Improve community cohesion, community experience, community business, job opportunities and sustainability

-  Benefit the existing hotels and businesses in Balquhidder with ultrafast broadband

-  Attract more people/ clients to come and visit, have conferences etc. at for example Monachle Mhor Hotel and the Loch Voil Hostel

-  Make the glen a more attractive place for people who need fast access to the Internet for their work and business - attract more businesses to the area

-  Provide the many farms within the area with broadband facilities

-  Strengthening the rural community and building more sustainable communities

Balquhidder Broadband Photo 2.jpg

Project Detail

Having access to a reliable fast broadband service is becoming an essential element to everyone`s lives and their well-being and the demand for internet services is simply growing. The current government plans to roll out `superfast broadband` through the BDUK and DSSB schemes do not cover the properties within the post code areas which cover Balquhidder. An action group set up as a sub-group of the local Community Council was campaigning for many years to rectify this problem.  The actions of this group, finally, resulted in funding being offered by Community Broadband Scotland* in 20

15. However, the work to deliver the `superfast broadband` has become increasingly detailed, complex and time consuming. In order to progress in reasonable timescales it was recognised that there was a growing need to recruit a full time project manager to help pull together the schedule, resources, equipment and materials required to lay the fibre and construct the local fibre broadband infrastructure.  The award from LEADER was made in January 2017 and the project manager was appointed in September 2017. However, due to a long waiting time for the money to build the infrastructure (LEADER funded the project manager, the infrastructure was being funded by other sources) and also because of the weather the process has been delayed. The es

timated end date is 31 December 2018.

*this funding subsequently changed.

Balquhidder Broadband Photo 3.jpg

Match Funding

Total Cost: £30,000

Eligible Costs: £15,000

Grant Requested From LEADER: £15,000

Lessons Learned

  • Be brave in the beginning.
  • Not ask for too much when it comes to volunteering etc.
  • Realize things take twice as long time than first expected.
  • Take the planning process one bit at a time.
  • Having a web-site has made it possible to provide the community with information about the project. Hence, the dialogue with the residents has improved.
  • Community meetings have made the residents’ attitude to the project more positive.
  • Worth all the work because “once you have done it, you do not have to do it again.”