Trossachs Community Council were awarded £50,000 by the local authority for the innovative project which uses both fixed wireless and TV *White Space technology to connect people in this remote and hilly area.
The scheme, which saw the community link up with broadband firm Broadway Partners, went live in November, with 72 residential premises and 30 businesses part of the network.
It is the latest community to benefit from the Council’s rural broadband expansion, which recently received two major accolades - the Scottish Government’s Delivering Excellence Award at the 2019 COSLA Excellence Awards and the UK-wide **Independent Network Co-operative Association (INCA) Gold Prize.
Stuart Oliver, Senior Manager for Economic Development and Communities at Stirling Council said: “Having access to superfast broadband is truly transformative for rural residents and business, and the completion of this innovative project is fantastic news for people in the Brig o’ Turk area.
“This is another excellent example of the Council working in partnership with local people and other agencies to deliver tailored broadband solutions.
“Collecting two national awards was a brilliant boost for everyone involved in the programme and it reaffirmed our resolve to connect more rural communities. This latest announcement shows we are continuing to drive forward with this key Council priority.”
Supporting rural communities
Backed by £300,000 of annual capital funding, the Council is supporting rural communities in the development of alternative broadband solutions, boosting economic growth and allowing residents access to vital services.
One Full Time Equivalent Rural Broadband Project Officer, supported by the local authority and the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER programme, is also in place until March 2020, to provide technical, project and funding support to communities.
Across Stirling, there are 18 innovative schemes at various stages of completion, with six projects now live - Balquhidder, Argarty & Kilbryde, Stockiemuir, Trossachs (Brig o’ Turk), Carron Valley and Auchenteck. So far, this has enabled almost 600 households and businesses to benefit from the technology.
Free public Wi-Fi in Aberfoyle town centre is also up and running, benefiting businesses, communities and visitors in the area.
Elsewhere, the Council are actively supporting a number of initiatives to enhance connectivity across rural Stirling.
- East Loch Lomond Community Trust, who used to a grant of just under £5,000 for a successful trial of 4G technology and are now making an application for a permanent solution.
- Gartness Community Council, who have applied for £20,000 to part fund a Community Fibre Partnership project to allow 11 businesses and 31 homes to receive ultrafast broadband
- Strathfillan Community Council is being supported in the development of a superfast broadband service for the village of Crainlarach.
- Council officers are also working with City Fibre to assist in a funding application to extend into the Eastern Villages.
This week, a SMART Village Conference took place in Aberfoyle that enabled rural communities to investigate how services such as health, education and retail can be improved and become more sustainable through superfast broadband.
Funded by Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, it attracted over 60 delegates from more than 10 European countries and allowed participants to learn from initiatives and share lessons from projects across the continent.
Picture details and background info:
*White Space technology uses frequencies no longer used by TV channels, allows to provide broadband internet access.
** Launched in 2018 to celebrate the inroads being made by the UK independent broadband market, the INCA Golds winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Manchester, on 16/17 October.
Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Scottish Government as part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme. See www.fvl.org.uk for more information.
Pictures shows the solar and wind broadband Wi-Fi technology located in the hills just outside Brig o’ Turk that is supplying world-class connectivity to the nearby village and other homes and businesses in the surrounding area, including hotels.