Argyll & Bute first council fully connected to high-speed broadband

The 70million Pathfinder North scheme, which began in May 2007 and is part-funded by the Scottish Government, aims to implement a future-proof high-speed broadband network, provided by Cable&Wireless business, THUS, across 5 local authorities in the Highlands & Islands. Argyll and Bute is now the first Council area to be fully connected under the Pathfinder initiative.The last site in its territory, Skipness Primary School, was connected last Wednesday (December 2nd). There are now 146 locations across the authority including all schools, libraries and office sites all benefiting from high speed broadband.

This bandwidth provided is not regular but is never less than 8MB. It runs from 8MB up to a staggering 300 MB, with the largest data centres, like the Council HQ at Kilmory in Lochgilphead and its offices in Helensburgh, having the largest bandwidth. Argyll and Bute is the first fully connected authority of the partnership of five local authoritiesinvovled in Pathfinder North.

The others are Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. Not unnaturally, Council Leader, Dick Walsh, is delighted to see Argyll & Bute cross the line in the lead a pioneer Pathfinder, in fact and sees the whole initiative as a great success. He says: This was one of the largest telecoms build projects in the UK, and we are delighted to be the first area to benefit from it fully.

Pathfinder North not only provides our key sites with high bandwidth Internet access, but will also connect us with 654 other locations across the Highlands and Islands. We can now run very advanced computer software applications, interactive service provision to the public and multimedia-rich education applications to enhance the traditional learning environment in schools. In addition, it allows all schools in Argyll and Bute to connect to GLOW, the national schools intranet which promises to transform the way education is delivered in Scotland.

We are very proud to be the first local authority to be fully connected and we look forward to continuing to use the technology now available to us in an innovative and exciting way, for the benefit of everyone in Argyll and Bute .

For long deprived Council Internet users, maybe this means they will now be able to see images as well as text.

The culture shock will be immense.

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