Category: Argyll

Reference Library – Scotland – Argyll Broadband

£42000 investment in Lochaber community broadband company – The Oban Times (subscription) 0

£42000 investment in Lochaber community broadband company – The Oban Times (subscription)

Ellie Forbes Updated: 17/07/17, 3:24 pm 1 Want to read more? We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Oban Times – subscribe today for as little as 56 pence per week. Subscribe Now 2 Scotland’s largest community broadband network is expanding.

Locheilnet, set up to bring better connections to some of Lochaber’s hardest-to-reach broadband spots, has received a £42,000 cash injection. Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), a Scottish Government initiative delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is supporting the group with a second round of funding to help upgrade and extend core infrastructure. The £42,000 will mean Locheilnet can upgrade its core network, including new masts at Treslaig and Tulloch.

The investment will see increased capacity for the existing network and the opportunity to expand. This includes the delivery of superfast broadband to Kilmalieu and Tulloch, near Roy Bridge. Jackie Wright, chair­woman of Locheilnet, said: ‘This is really great news.

We already provide a robust, fast broadband service to almost 400 rural householders and businesses.’ Calum Stiven at CBS commented: ‘Locheilnet is a leading example of what a community can achieve for themselves and others.

We’re delighted that this investment will support them to expand, bringing the benefits of better broadband to more people in the Lochaber area.’ References ^ Ellie Forbes ( ^ Subscribe Now (

Councillor’s Column: Progress at last on superfast broadband 0

Councillor’s Column: Progress at last on superfast broadband

This week’s Councillor Column is written by George Freeman, independent councillor for Lomond North. * * * * * * * * * * * Even although I am impatient and like to see things done quickly, the one thing councillors learn is the need to be patient. That has been the case with the introduction of superfast broadband (SB) within my Lomond North ward. This is one of the issues most frequently raised by constituents.

For more than three years I have pursued this and have seen promised timescales come and go. I have lost count of the number of times the Digital Scotland website has told me it is due “within six months”. At one stage, those responsible for the project were trying to blame the council for not approving planning applications for the new SB cabinets, even although the planning applications had been approved in 2015.

There were also concerns that some locations such as Portincaple were to be excluded from the programme. Thankfully, as a result of perseverance and my recent meetings with senior Digital Scotland officials, we now see progress. I have received confirmation that Portincaple will now be included in the programme due to additional funds having been secured through Gainshare.

Gainshare sees additional funding secured for the SB programme when the targets for sign up have been passed. We now see a number of SB cabinets live in Arrochar, Clynder and Rhu. At last, work has now started on the ground at Garelochhead, with cabinets now being installed.

This week has seen the installation of a cabinet on the main street. Although this required temporary traffic lights and delays for motorists, this is a small price to pay for the benefits that SB will bring to our communities. Continuing pressure needs to be applied to Digital Scotland and others in an attempt to ensure that all the communities in my Lomond North ward can benefit from SB at the earliest opportunity. * I HAVE recently been told that councillors can no longer raise constituents’ problems directly with officers responsible for delivering services and that we must now go through other intermediate officers.

Although I queried this decision over two months ago, I still await a detailed reply relating to this change in policy.

This is introducing further delays in addressing constituent’s queries which is totally unacceptable.

As one constituent told me, it now looks like the tail is wagging the dog in the council.

HIE highlights vital support for nearly 1700 jobs across the north 0

HIE highlights vital support for nearly 1700 jobs across the north

HIE chairman Lorne Crerar Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said yesterday investments during 2016/17 helped create or retain 1,688 full-time equivalent jobs. Reporting “year-end numbers”, the economic development quango added it supported steady growth among small and medium-sized enterprises across the region. Annual accounts for the period, showing the agency’s income and expenditure for the 12 months to March 31, 2017, are not expected until later this year.

But HIE, which was recently at the centre of a political battle over the future of its local board, said it had performed strongly. Its job tally includes 169 roles in “fragile” areas, while turnover at supported businesses and social enterprises is forecast to increase by £120.4million over three years. International sales are expected to grow by £79.5million over the same period.

HIE said inward investment activity had increased “significantly” during the past year, helping to support 12 projects, while community development activity “continued apace”. Chairman Lorne Crerar added: “It has been another year of encouraging progress for the Highlands and islands. “The continued oil and gas downturn, pressures on public sector budgets and uncertainties around EU membership have presented many challenges for the region. “More and more we are seeing these challenges being met with innovation, ambition, entrepreneurship and resilience by the region’s businesses, social enterprises and communities. “A key part of HIE’s role is to foster those qualities and target investment in initiatives that stimulate and enable growth. “I am delighted at the contribution the organisation has made over the past year and look forward to continuing to work with our partners, businesses and communities across the region and beyond to build on this in the years ahead.” Grants from the Scottish Land Fund, administered by HIE and Big Lottery on behalf of the Scottish Government, supported 31 projects across the north during 2016/17. HIE said an innovative community account management programme was helping 47 communities achieve “greater resilience”.

The region’s social economy turnover is forecast to increase by nearly £5.6million, including £1.8million from community-owned assets. Other milestones for HIE during 2016/17 included three new buildings opening at Inverness Campus, including the agency’s new headquarters at An Lochran. In Argyll, the new Fairmile Building in Sandbank Business Park, near Dunoon, was formally opened and the European Marine Science Park near Oban secured a number of new tenants.

The year also saw the completion of Dales Voe South in Shetland, a 607ft quay to support growth in decommissioning work, and the installation of all four turbines in the MeyGen tidal-energy project off the Caithness coast. Both projects were supported by HIE. Wave Energy Scotland, a subsidiary of HIE, approved funding worth £12.4million for 17 technology development projects.

HIE said digital connectivity continued to improve for businesses and households across the region, with the number of premises with access through the HIE-led Digital Scotland superfast broadband project reaching 155,000.

A further 1,400 are now connected through 13 projects supported by Community Broadband Scotland, which is also run by HIE on behalf of the government.

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