Frequently asked questions
Click on a question to reveal the answer
- Who is behind GigaPlus Argyll?
- GigaPlus Argyll (GPA) is a Community Benefit Society created for the communities of Mull, Iona, Colonsay, Lismore, Islay, Jura, Luing and the Craignish peninsula. The company has backing from Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). GPA has a board of directors, a volunteer steering group and a full time project manager.
- Is this really going to happen?
Yes. Funding is in place and a contract has been signed with AB-Internet to design, build and support the broadband scheme. It is hoped, if all progresses according to plan, that the first connections to the network will be made during early 2017.
Once the broadband service is running, there is likely to be a choice of Internet Service Provider. AB Internet and Giga+ from Scotnet will be the first two, but other providers may join the scheme and offer an alternative service.
- When is it going to happen?
- The current plan is for the first customer connections to be made in the early part of 2017 . The rate of progress is subject to equipment and infrastructure suppliers, landowner negotiations, planning consents and the resources to build the network.
- Why have there been delays?
- This is the first community scheme scheme with public funding to have been attempted in UK. We have been learning a great deal. One of these lessons has been that the process takes much longer than anticipated. We have encountered a number of unexpected problems, not with the technology, but with regulatory, permissions and competition aspects. This has delayed the build, but we are confident that the network will work as intended, and should be running early in 2017.
- Will there be coverage where I live?
- The best way to find out for certain is to use the Postcode Checker on this site. However, generally speaking the GigaPlus Argyll broadband will cover all of Lismore, Iona, Colonsay, and Luing. It will cover parts of the Port Charlotte area on Islay, all of Jura except for a small area within Craighouse, the Ross of Mull, most of the west and north west coast of Mull, and the Craignish peninsula. This is only a rough guide and to be sure, please use the checker
- How much is it going to cost per month - is it a lot more expensive than BT?
- The cost to you will be comparable to the charges made by BT once any of their special offers and limited time deals have expired. Part of the funding arrangement provided by CBS and HIE means that charges must be realistic and comparable with other Broadband suppliers. We are in discussion with a number of Internet Service Providers and we will provide links to their pricing once this is available
- Will I be tied in for 12 months or so?
- This will depend on which Internet Service Provider you sign up with. Click here for details of the current service providers.
- What type of packages will be on offer?
- There will be a range of services and these will depend on what the customer requires. The services will vary by speed and data usage so if you only use your broadband for shopping and emails then you won't need very high download speeds and you won't be downloading huge amounts of data. However if you are a big bandwidth and data user then it is only fair that you will be expected to pay more for the service. Information about packages
- Will I be limited on my usage?
The packages offered by both current Internet Service Providers are defined by connection speed, not bandwidth. Click here for details of the current service providers..
- Can I play my usual Sky TV/BT Sport through GPA?
- Yes. GigaPlus Argyll provides the broadband mechanism to transport the internet into your home. What happens to it after that is down to you.
- How fast will the broadband speed be?
- Much faster than at present. Current broadband speeds available within the GPA region over telephone lines vary from below 1Mbps up to about 6Mbps, and these speeds will vary depending on the time of day that it's being used and how many devices are connected within your house. GigaPlus Argyll will not use phone lines, so once it is available customers can expect speeds of over 20Mbps (according to package) and this will be reliable and will never dip below 15Mbps even when everyone is using it. Speed will depend on the package you choose.
- What will these speeds deliver in terms of viewing video, streaming music, uploading files etc.?
- By having reliable, consistent broadband speeds of around 20Mbps this will enable many internet connected devices to work at the same time. This could be anything from watching films, or streamed TV, playing internet based games, shopping, emailing and Skype calls all running simultaneously without any buffering taking place.
- How does the system work?
- The GigaPlus Argyll (GPA) system will work wirelessly. What this means is that rather than the BT system where there is a physical wire connecting your house to the telephone exchange, the GPA system will beam the Internet straight to your house. The advantages of this are that we don't have to dig up the roads, fields and gardens to lay cables. With a copper telephone cable the signal gets weaker the further it has to travel away from the exchange, which causes unreliability and inconsistency of speed. The GPA solution does not suffer as badly as this and the signal can travel many miles before any degradation causes problems.
- What type of equipment will be attached to my property?
- There will be a small box/aerial or dish attached to your house. This dish will be used to transmit and receive data. Although we can't say for certain just yet what the size of the transceiver equipment will be it is very unlikely that it will be any bigger than a Sky dish. See comparative images
- Will I lose my BT telephone Line?
- Not if you don't want to. It will be possible to use an internet telephone rather than a "normal" telephone handset which means that you could do away with the BT landline altogether. Telephone calls can still be made in the normal way, but the call will go via the internet rather than the BT line. However if you would rather keep your BT landline you are more than welcome to do so.
- Can I wait for BT?
You can, but there is no guarantee that they will ever come. BT has committed to a number of areas on Mull, Islay and part of the Craignish peninsula, but that is it, for at least the next couple of years. It is unlikely due to the remoteness of the locations and cost versus financial returns that BT will ever increase broadband speeds to anything like those that GigaPlus Argyll is promising.
It is also unlikely that BT will lay more sub-sea fibre cables in the foreseeable future for the same reason. BT are not obliged to provide a better service if you are already receiving up to 2Mbps.
The current BT solution is limited because the speed it can provide reduces with distance from the street cabinet. It can only provide better than 20Mbps if you are within 1.6Km (1 mile). On remote islands for many people this is unlikely. The GigaPlus Argyll solution doesn't suffer from this decrease in speed the further away you are.
- How do I sign up?
- Please visit the 'Contact Us' page on this website and let us know that you are interested. There is no commitment at this stage, but it does enable us to keep in contact with you during these early stages.
- Why do I need to move to GPA? BT gives me all I need
- BT may give you all you need now, but with the uncertainties surrounding their future plans, this may not continue to be the case. Internet usage is increasing year on year with new technology relying on it ever more. There may well be a time relatively soon that you will need a faster, more reliable broadband connection and BT may not be able to provide this.
- What happens if there is a fault?
- If you have a problem please contact your Internet Service Provider, contact details are listed here.
- Will there be a guaranteed time to get the fault fixed?
- There will be strict service levels in place to ensure that problems are resolved as soon as possible, however this may stop short of a guarantee. A guarantee is always difficult especially when there are ferries involved.
- Will the fault be fixed by a local engineer?
- Where possible local faults will be rectified by a local engineer. However if the problem is more complex then it may be necessary for outside assistance to be brought in.
- Can't see the question you want to ask ?
- Please enter your question below, and we will respond to it by e-mail within two working days. If you would rather contact us by telephone, please call Richard Thorne on 01680 812906.