The early background
In response to priorities identified in the Community Plans for the Ross of Mull and Iona and for UIva Ferry, the Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) started a project in October 2012 to identify need for better Broadband provision which is now progressing with support from Community Broadband Scotland. At a public meeting in July 2013, we announced that we had successfully installed a pilot scheme to deliver broadband to Caliach Farm and Lagg Cottage at the north westernmost point of Mull across a 32km wireless link from the Isle of Eigg. Previously the properties were on dial-up internet and broadband with only 0.15Mbps download speed - now they are getting speeds of around 8Mbps.
Proof of principle: transmitting Broadband from the Isle of Eigg to the residents of Caliach Point in North Mull.
What the future holds:
We now have a strong steering group of volunteers from around the GigaPlus Argyll area and are committed to taking the project forward. Their Mission Statement is “To provide a reliable, fast broadband and telecommunications service which is financially sustainable, to all residential and business customers on the Islands of Mull, Iona, Lismore, Luing, Colonsay, Jura, parts of Islay and the Craignish peninsula.
A “seed corn” fund of £5000 from Community Broadband Scotland got us started and helped us identify the need for better Broadband provision. GigaPlus Argyll has now secured additional funding to cover the costs of employing a full time project manager.
The recent market research survey carried out suggests that around 50% of residents on Mull have a broadband service below the 2Mbps threshold and this gives us the opportunity to follow the lead of other communities in Scotland by setting up a community owned company to provide broadband services to the more remote parts of Mull and Iona. The other islands plus Craignish also have similar or worse statistics for broadband speeds and this has re-enforced the need for action. BT are about to announce details of their plans for the area which will include a fibre optic cable from the mainland to Tobermory on Mull.
Please watch this space for further developments. If you have anything you would like to offer this project please contact us.