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Rural Broadband Issue Set to Feature on BBC Scotland's Flagship Rural Affairs Programme

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Scottish Land & Estates, director David Fyffe will appear on BBC Scotland’s  flagship rural affairs programme, Landward, to reveal how rural businesses are overcoming the problems of broadband coverage.

David is managing partner at Netherton Business Centre in Kemnay, where tenants are already reaping the benefits of fast, reliable broadband after the installation of a high-tech satellite Internet system.

As criticism mounts over the government’s planned fibre optic rollout, this week’s Landward is expected to feature a number of people and business owners who have decided to take matters into their own hands.

A BBC film crew and Landward presenter, Dougie Vipond, were on hand at Netherton Business Centre to film the recent installation.

“Kemnay was one of the many rural ‘Bermuda Triangle’ areas that was left out of the initial broadband roll-out in the North East of Scotland,” explained David.

“In 2004, we decided to bring in our own copper-leased line and had a bespoke 2 Mb cable laid out to the Business Centre from the exchange, roughly a mile away in the village. This was expensive, but guaranteed a high quality of broadband at that time for our business tenants.

“Over the last 4 or 5 years, however, there has been an ever-increasing demand for faster download and upload speeds as many companies are now using online systems and handling files that can reach sizes of up to 100 Mbs.

The Business Centre is now using innovative satellite broadband technology provided by Dundonald-based provider, Internet Anywhere.

Long term tenants Blackwatch Petroleum, who need faster bandwidth as they plan to begin drilling operations in Ethiopia, should now be able to access download speeds of up to 20Mbs and upload speeds of 4Mbs.

Managing director of Internet Anywhere, John Fitzgerald, is urging the Government to consider satellite technology to overcome delays and coverage limitations of the national fibre optic initiative.

John Fitzgerald said, ““People shouldn’t be penalised because they choose to live and work in our more remote communities.

“The fact that they are isolated from services and amenities that the rest of us take for granted means they should be given first priority when it comes to the Internet.

“Satellite broadband is fast and reliable, and it’s the only way to ensure that everyone in Scotland can be part of digital revolution.”

Mr Fyffe added, “It is no secret that the creation of new jobs in rural areas and the competitiveness of our rurally-based businesses both depend heavily on our ability to compete at every level, including communications.

“3G and even 4G will undoubtedly help bridge current gaps in this respect, but priority must be given by Government both at Westminster and at Holyrood to deliver competitive levels of broadband for our rural businesses  – this is where the most impact in terms of job creation and economic activity
will be delivered most quickly.”

Landward is on air at 7pm on BBC 2 this Friday (18th October 2013).

 

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