Action group seeks improved broadband

Mid-Deeside Broadband Action group is pressing for improvements to the service in the area
Mid-Deeside Broadband Action group is pressing for improvements to the service in the area

A group of local residents are campaigning for a better broadband service.

Mid-Deeside Broadband Action Group (MDBAG) fears the area will not be included in the Scottish Government’s target of 95% of the country to receive superfast broadband by the end of 2017.

For the remaining 5%, a further project, “Community Broadband Scotland”, has been initiated.

MDBAG’s aim is to ensure an adequate service in an area covering Bridge of Canny, Kincardine O’Neil, Torphins, Glassel, Strachan, Auchattie, Finzean and Ballogie.

A group spokesman said: “The provision of high-quality broadband communications is increasingly seen by people as an essential utility. Connections between the home and telephone exchange using copper wires are not able to support the speeds necessary for adequate broadband provision.

“Different technologies are needed to provide much higher connection speeds. These technologies include fibre optic

networks such as those already in place in Banchory and Aboyne, and radio-based networks for more remote communities.”

MDBAG approached Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett.

He said: “I know this is a pressing issue for many people, including the Mid-Deeside Broadband Action Group.

“I have since held two meetings with BT, which have proved frustrating. I will, however, continue to seek answers and have now requested a meeting with OFCOM.”

A BT spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting communities who are not part of either our commercial programme or the DSSB programme through our Community Fibre Partnerships. We have recently discussed such a partnership where BT pays the equivalent commercial costs of the investment required to bring faster speeds to the area and the local community funds the gap.”

A Community Broadband Scotland spokesman said: “A survey of the community is now underway to establish demand for a possible community-owned network in the hardest to reach areas not expected to benefit from the on-going DSSB fibre rollout.

“Once this scoping work has been completed, a project area has been agreed and the viability has been confirmed, CBS will provide further support, funding and access to technical expertise so that the group can identify and procure the most suitable superfast broadband solution for their area.”