Broadband shortcomings outlined by Staffin residents

STAFFIN residents and businesses have outlined the limitations of their current internet service – amid moves to secure high speed broadband for the district and other north Skye communities.

The North Skye Broadband Project (NSBP), which is being led by the Glendale Trust, investigated internet provision in Glendale, Waternish and Duntulm in a major public consultation between April and May.

BT is in the midst of a region-wide roll-out of superfast broadband but none of those communities are included. In Staffin, limited superfast broadband is expected and will mean townships like Elishadder, Valtos, Culnacnoc, Grealin, Lealt, Flodigarry, Digg and Glasphein will miss out, as it gets slower the further away the premises are from the exchange.

The Staffin Community Trust had encouraged local people to complete a short questionnaire about internet service which could be fed into the NSBP report which has been published this week and can be read here. North Skye Broadband Report

The Staffin Trust was delighted that there was a fantastic response in Staffin to the request with almost 50 questionnaires completed by residents and businesses in the Taobh Sear, which has built up a picture of the internet speed. It indicates the strength of feeling on the issue which is vital to the community’s economic and social prosperity.

There were a total of 264 responses from all the communities. In the IV51 postcode there was an average download speed of 3.7Mbs (Megabytes Per Second) but there were parts of Staffin which recorded a paltry 0.52Mbps. For a comparison, in the Highland Council area the average download speed is 8Mps and in Glasgow it is 21Mbs.

Almost 50 Staffin responses to broadband surveys.

The majority of Staffin residents who responded also indicated they would be keen to switch supplier, should a community broadband project come to fruition.

The report has recommended that a demand DOES exist for a community-led broadband scheme in Staffin and additional communities to the three districts in the NSPB original catchment area and the project should include these areas. The report authors, consultants An Roth Trading, who worked on a similar project in Argyll, have also stated there is scope for a technical solution, possibly wireless, which could provide superfast to households likely to miss out. The next steps are to set up a community organisation to run the project and source funding from the Scottish Government-backed Community Broadband Scotland.

Elgar Finlay, of the Glendale Trust, said he would be delighted to welcome Staffin residents and businesses to a key meeting later this month. “The broadband project’s working group will be meeting on Wednesday, 22nd July at 7:30pm in the Glendale Hall to agree on the incorporation of a suitable community body to take forward the project, and to apply for capital assistance from Community Broadband Scotland for the next stage of development funding,” he said. “Whilst the NSBP group has established links with interest groups across with the three communities during the public consultation phase, anyone who would like to be involved with the project is welcome to make contact and attend its next meeting.”