Homes and businesses in Ullapool, Lochbroom, Little Lochbroom and Coigach are set to get superfast internet speeds thanks to a community funded broadband scheme, launched today.
Highland Community Broadband (HCB) has been formed by local residents with the help of Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) to make sure rural areas like Ullapool, Lochbroom, Little Lochbroom and Coigach can get better broadband. HCB aims to provide the service to people by early next year and plans to be financed solely by the local community.
Developed and run by Highland Community Broadband, the service uses wireless technology rather than cables so it’s the same speed wherever the service is located. Around 650 connections will be managed by a local team, it was announced today. The project’s customer services will be run by local staff who will be trained to provide technical support.
Flick Hawkins, Chairman of Ullapool Community Trust, says, “We’re delighted that HCB will be providing broadband to these areas and the community is funding this and working together to create a reliable, affordable superfast broadband network.” “Many people had slow or non-existent broadband services and we will consign that to history. It’s really exciting.”
This scheme is being financed and run by the community and aims to connect 650 homes by July and 850 by the end of 2017. Highland Community Broadband opens to subscribers from Thursday 1st September 2016. It initially asks founding subscribers for their total yearly subscription costs and installation fee in advance to enable those who cannot afford the lump sum to subscribe once the network is built.
Building the infrastructure is estimated to take six months and it will begin in October this year. It is estimated to cost £153,350 and HCB needs to raise £75,000 to fund the first phase of the enterprise, which will cover the operating costs, and will extend the network with future revenues.
HCB will offer next generation access as a standard service with an unlimited downloads, up to 50Mbps download speed and up to 20Mbps upload speed. They will charge customers £25 per month with a one off £100 installation fee. A low user tariff will also be available at £20 per month with one off £100 installation fee, at a later date. The roll-out will start in Ullapool, move on to Southern Lochbroom, Northern Lochbroom, Little Lochbroom (including Gruinard and The Coasts) and then move onto Coigach.
Highland Community Broadband intends to establish a technology hub and business incubator in the centre of Ullapool to capitalise on our new high speed broadband and hopes this will benefit the local community and businesses. Any subsequent profits from the scheme will be redistributed into community organisations. The project is based on other rural broadband schemes, including Skyenet in Skye, Applenet in Applecross and Locheilnet in Loch Eil.
For further information please contact Nicholas Lampen:
Tel: 01854 633225 or 01854 613879 or 07768 038145 (but it doesn’t work very well here!)
Highland Community Broadband
Registered Office: UCT Hub, 28 Argyle Street, Ullapool, Ross-shire. IV26 2UB