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Tech firm eyes superfast internet project for rural Fife

Richard Watson (49) and Simon Baldwin of Destination Digital. Picture by Steve Brown / DCT Media
Richard Watson (49) and Simon Baldwin of Destination Digital. Picture by Steve Brown / DCT Media

A Fife based digital firm has unveiled plans to deliver a wireless broadband service to predominantly rural businesses and homes.

The project, delivered by Destination Digital is focussing on North East Fife.

The East Neuk is the latest addition to a growing programme of wifi projects across Scotland for the company that has seen soaring demand since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced.

The ambitious plan aims to construct a gigabit-capable community network delivering significantly improved download and upload speeds.

Destination Digital, which is behind Scotland’s only Digital Improvement District, CuparNow, says having access to high-speed internet access was now essential in light of continuing uncertainty around travel restrictions.

Director Simon Baldwin said: “The need for employees to work from home has shone the spotlight on the poor provision of reliable internet access for many rural locations.

“We know that living in non-urban settings is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for many since the pandemic began, but it simply hasn’t been viable if connectivity is an issue.

“Businesses are also becoming increasingly reliant on reliable internet access, not just to expand, but to simply survive, while young people are now accessing more of their education via online platforms.

“This isn’t just about streaming films and playing online games – it’s a vital part of any local economy and will also encourage and support new business start-ups.

“As part of our work in Cupar, it became obvious the catchment area was significantly larger than first thought. Customer demand is leading us to expand the coverage into East Neuk.”

Technology

One of the partners in Destination Digital is Kirkcaldy-based Rapier Systems, who will be responsible for the planning and technical delivery of the broadband infrastructure.

The firm, which will increase its headcount to 19 in January and achieved a turnover of £1.25 million last year, also has a base in England.

Director Richard Watson said local wireless internet projects were a growing part of the business, which counts a number of local authorities as clients.

The firm said its public sector contracts had shielded the company from the worst effects of the pandemic.

He said: “Dundee Council, Angus Council and Perth and Kinross Council are three of our biggest customers and we have been doing a lot of work for them during the coronavirus crisis.

“Dundee City Council has made a significant investment in wireless technology over the last 16 years and most, if not all of the public buildings and public space CCTV network in Dundee is all connected by wireless technology at speeds up to and including multiple gigabits.”

Mr Watson said: “Wireless technology has been around since the time of Marconi, although to many it is a dark art.

However it is our area of expertise and it can play a key role in delivering an economic and social level playing field for rural communities.”

Destination Digital has launched a website, allowing people to register interest: https://www.eastneuknow.blog/register/.

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