Residents in a rural Kinross-shire community took matters into their own hands after figuring out they could walk to York faster than they could download a film from the internet.
The 14 homes at Classlochie were crippled with a snail’s pace service, despite being situated just half a mile from a high-speed internet cabinet.
On a good day residents could enjoy just 0.5mb but the connection was rendered unusable whenever it rained.
The meant it took locals three days to download a high-definition movie, compared to the 69-hour journey to reach York, 210 miles away, on foot.
The community missed out on being included in the Scottish Government’s superfast broadband project and so asked BT Openreach to help it bring the internet into the 21st Century.
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Openreach agreed to pay part of the cost of connecting the houses, with the residents funding the rest.
Their 1,000mb connection is now among the fastest in the country.
Classlochie Farm resident Andrew Mitchell, who led the initiative, said: “We suffered from unfortunate timing in that only two of the properties at Classlochie Farm were on the map when the Scottish Government put in place its plans for rolling out superfast broadband.
“On top of that, despite our homes being just 900 metres away from a new fibre-enabled cabinet, it was technically and financially unfeasible to connect us to existing infrastructure.
“The situation was untenable. It took up to 70 hours to download a movie – roughly the equivalent of walking to York from Kinross. It was also having a serious impact on some of the residents who owned businesses: one, a science communications company, was losing contracts, while a publican couldn’t even run payroll over our connection.”
Since then, with support from Perth and Kinross Council, the benefits have been extended to others in the local community. A mixed-wireless network has been built onto the Openreach system to connect a further 100 people.
Robert Thorburn, partnership director at Openreach, said: “The Community Fibre Partnership model can bring fibre broadband to rural communities across Scotland – they’re designed to provide a solution that works for each area’s circumstances.
“Classlochie Farm was one of the first partnerships to get off the ground and it’s a really good example of what can be achieved.
“Access to superfast and ultrafast broadband can be transformative for communities, whether it’s as simple as residents enjoying high-definition videos or businesses seeing a boost to productivity and sales.
“Classlochie has gone from being an isolated not-spot to an ultrafast hub, and is now hoping to extend the benefits to the surrounding area.”