Breath of fresh air for Inverness-shire community as wind farm helps fund fibre broadband

A small rural community in Inverness-shire is looking forward to a superfast future after local residents took matters into their own hands to secure high-speed fibre broadband.

A small rural community in Inverness-shire is looking forward to a superfast future after local residents took matters into their own hands to secure high-speed fibre broadband.

People living in Moy, a small, scattered community south of Inverness, approached BT for help because they were fighting with the equivalent of an online headwind due to slow download speeds.

Residents were able to use money given to them for community use by the Moy windfarm to jointly fund three new fibre broadband cabinets in the village.

Work will be carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business, which is also helping to fund the project. And with the wind now firmly at their backs, the new technology should be ready to use this Christmas.

James Macpherson, a director of local charity Strathdearn Community Developments said: “There were currently no plans to upgrade broadband in the Strathdearn area within the foreseeable future so we decided to investigate a number of different options for the service.Within Strathdearn, Moy was identified as the project which could be completed within the shortest timescale, it effectively became stage 1 of the Strathdearn Community Developments’ plans for improving broadband for the wider community.

“It was decided by the residents of Moy that the best solution would be the Openreach proposal, to install three new cabinets within the Moy area, bringing speeds of up to 80mbps. The key decision-making factors were that the Openreach solution would ensure Moy residents would still be able to choose from a number of different service providers with a reliable connection, the opportunity to further upgrade to fibre direct to premises in the future, and not having to worry about data consumption.

“This project will be funded through local community investment, coming from local wind farm contributions, partnership with Openreach, and funding from the Better Broadband Voucher scheme which all residents of Moy have been urged to complete!

The Moy community is very much looking forward to a much improved broadband service, as the speeds currently being delivered have affected a number of local businesses.”

James added: “The next stage will be addressing the Glenmazeran exchange area. Strathdearn Community Developments has tabled the idea of facilitating a community dig with Openreach providing cabling and ducting direct to premises. The community is hoping to hear further proposals from Openreach in the coming months which, if successful, will be stage 2 of Strathdearn’s broadband improvements

“Strathdearn Community Developments believes that superfast fibre optic broadband is the way forward and has the ultimate goal of eventually connecting every property within Strathdearn with a fibre to premises solution! We would like our community to become the benchmark on how to properly upgrade broadband in a rural location!”

The agreement is another success for BT’s Community Fibre Partnership scheme, with more than 200 communities in the UK having signed contracts to be part of the scheme.

One small business which will benefit directly is run by occupational psychologist Margaret Saunders from her home in Moy. Margaret spends much of her time travelling as she’s currently unable to work online or do video-conferencing.

She said: “I have the opportunity to work with Royal British Legion Industries, helping veterans and their families. The work involves a great deal of travelling but when I get fibre I will be able to do that work online, without leaving my home!”

Andy Hepburn, Openreach fibre programme director for Scotland, said: “We are working with small communities, like Moy, across Scotland.Making fibre broadband available to communities is one of our top priorities and working directly with a group of residents like this is just one of the ways of making that happen. People here have shown great determination to make this happen and fibre broadband opens up endless opportunities for them.”

“Download speeds of up to 80Mbps will be available in Moy, so things like streaming music, watching TV online, and quickly uploading larger files will be possible for the first time.

And because all of the work is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business, residents will still have a choice of internet service providers and be able to choose from a wide range of competitive packages.”

Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland project director, said: “We know the huge impact broadband has had on our lives and it’s fantastic to have personally been involved with the Moy

community to find a fibre broadband solution which will benefit local residents of all generations. This will allow many for the first time to effectively work or study at home, do

homework and run businesses which has been extremely difficult to do with the current speeds available. Additionally the ability to retain and attract new people to their community harnessing the full benefits available, is massively important.”

Across Scotland, around nine out of ten premises can access superfast broadband speeds. For more details on the roll-out visit openreach.co.uk/whereandwhen. People struggling with broadband speeds who are not included in a plan can visit

communityfibre.bt.com to find how to help bring superfast broadband to their local area.