Brendan Dick: Broadband key for Scotland’s rural areas

A community fibre partnership can help bring broadband to areas not involved in the national rollout plans, says BT Scotland director Brendan Dick. Picture: Iain MacDonald/PA Wire
A community fibre partnership can help bring broadband to areas not involved in the national rollout plans, says BT Scotland director Brendan Dick. Picture: Iain MacDonald/PA Wire
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At BT, we’re looking to hear from Scottish communities that would like to work with us to bring fibre broadband to their area.

In recent years, a huge amount of work has taken place across Scotland and we’re approaching 90 per cent of homes being able to get superfast download speeds nationwide.

A BT grant of up to £20,000 may even be available if your local school benefits from the work

But there’s still a lot of work to do in some areas and there are communities that don’t have faster fibre broadband and are not included in rollout plans.

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We know speed is important. It is a major boost for everyday things many of us take for granted — such as listening to music online, catching up on TV, working from home and online learning.

We’re having great success with a new initiative – called a community fibre partnership (CFP) – specifically intended to help communities not yet involved in rollout plans.

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Across the UK, around 250 CFP projects have been agreed, with 100 completed. A CFP involves a local group working directly with us. There usually needs to be a joint funding arrangement but we do everything we can to make it as affordable as possible.

A BT grant of up to £20,000 may even be available if your local school benefits from the work. But, whatever your circumstances, it is worth getting in touch and finding out more. We have a team on standby to explain things clearly and take you through the process.

In Scotland, a number of partnerships are either completed or in progress, such as in the village of Moy in the Highlands, Woodilee and Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire and small communities in Edinburgh and Glasgow that were not included in any existing rollout plans.

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For example, the small, scattered community of Moy south of Inverness approached BT for help to overcome slow download speeds. Community-use

money from a local windfarm will help to fund three new fibre broadband cabinets in the village. Work will be carried out by Openreach, which is also helping to fund the project.

In Edinburgh, Dunedin secondary school became the first in Scotland to use a BT community grant to help fund their upgrade.

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A CFP guarantees residents a fibre connection via the Openreach network, so they can continue choosing their own internet service provider and benefit from competitive pricing.

If you want to find out more on behalf of your community, visit www.communityfibre.bt.com

You’ll find lots of information online that clearly explains what happens. You can check your postcode to understand your fibre broadband status, then go on to submit an expression of interest to start the ball rolling. We look forward to working with you.

Brendan Dick is director of BT Scotland

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