28th September 2016

Dear Sir or Madam,

GigaPlus Argyll Autumn Update 2016

Our contractor AB Internet has been very busy over the past few months and progress is most definitely being made.

Since our last update, I’m pleased to report that 60% of all the sites have had planning submitted, and 25% of the sites have had planning approved and none of the sites have had planning rejected.

Although this is changing all the time, to date we have secured 11 planning approvals, with another 14 having passed the first hurdle of planning validation

There is confidence that construction will commence on three sites within the next month and once started work will continue until the network is complete.

The masts and their renewable energy sources have started to be manufactured, and surveying is taking place on the final few mast sites.

It’s not all good news though. There have been some unforeseen delays that have caught us out, but these are out of our control. For example, the connection to the Internet in Oban, sometimes referred to as the “Backhaul” has been delayed, and there has been an issue with the ability to offer the network to other Internet Service Providers that is taking a while to be resolved by the UK Government department - Broadband Delivery UK. This has knocked the schedule back, but we are all working hard to keep the project on track to be ready for connecting the first customers early in 2017

We are struggling to secure some of the final mast sites and this can be for a variety of reasons. Where the reason is due to planning, it is always very beneficial for the planning department to receive letters of support from communities that will be using the scheme. If the planners can see that there is a real need and desire for the GigaPlus Argyll network, then this will hopefully outweigh any negative comments they may receive from other sources. Please keep an eye out for planning applications being submitted in your area and if you are willing, please send a letter supporting the scheme relating to that application. If we cannot secure a mast site due to planning or landowner permissions, then there is serious risk that communities will be left behind. Without a mast to cover a community, the broadband signal simply cannot reach it. This is your chance to help create a reliable, fast broadband network that will make a difference.

From now on, when a planning application for a mast site is submitted, we will send an email to you in the appropriate area, so you are aware. Then if you would like, you can write a letter supporting the application to the Planning department with the appropriate application reference pinned to it. Also it is possible to go to the planning pages of the Argyll and Bute Website http://publicaccess.argyll-bute.gov.uk/online-applications , find the application using the reference number and then submit a comment directly. Either way is effective and will inform the planners that there is a need and desire to see this scheme succeed.

Please spread the word in your area and tell your friends they can register at www.gigaplusargyll.co.uk or by calling 01680 812906. We now have well over 500 registrations of interest - over a third of the premises in our project area.

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Best wishes

Yours sincerely,

Richard Thorne
Project Manager, GigaPlus Argyll<