Sptember 2018 - Update 5

The latest update on how work is progressing is below, with the updated map.

Deadline for self-dig invoices:  we will need all self-dig invoices by 31 December 2018.
Invoices received after this date will not be honoured.

Please note the terms for claiming your grant are, to remind you, at: https://www.achnasheenandgarve.com/2018/06/garve-and-district-broadband-self-dig.html
don't forget to sign and date your invoice(s), and complete your application form - any submissions will be returned if our guidelines are not followed. And therefore payment will be delayed. We need this to be done for auditing purposes.

Your neighbours and friends involved in the project: it's faster, easier and less expensive for us to email all updates (as well as publishing here and garve.org) - but if you know your neighbour has email and is currently receiving postal updates from us, please ask them to sign up to receive email updates, at http://eepurl.com/diAxt1
Thank you.

In addition, Openreach has produced a film about the project - we thought we'd share it with you: https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/news/achnasheen

Everything is progressing well across the community (well done to all you self-diggers!!).

The Achnasheen network (1) has now been fully commissioned and all 32 premises can order an FTTP service.

Network 2 and 3 updates are shown below.

You can get in touch with us by email at:
by post at: 1 Bignold Place, Achnasheen IV22 2EG.

Joint media launch: Garve and District Broadband/Openreach - 20 August 2018

Here's a few photographs from the media launch day, at Ledgowan Lodge Hotel on 20 August.

The first image shows Robert Thorburn announcing that Achnasheen fibre is now live!  Look at how excited Dena Ross was to hear this - as are the rest of us here in Achnasheen. Brilliant news!

The rollout continues across the community, outwith Achnasheen up to Aultguish - those other households and businesses will soon be joining us with 21st century broadband - at long last!

Thanks to everyone who came along on the day.

Here's the press release which was issued for the day:


Remote Highland communities scattered across 26 miles of rugged terrain are set to get the UK’s fastest, more reliable broadband – thanks to an unique partnership.
Around 140 homes stretching from Achnasheen to Aultguish in Ross-shire – around 40 miles north-west of Inverness – will be upgraded to ultrafast technology by the end of this year.

Around two thirds of the properties will receive future proof Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) from the £428 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, led by Highland and Islands Enterprise locally, with the rest getting a full-fibre upgrade through a Community Fibre Partnership with Openreach.

Homes in tiny settlements and hamlets like Achanalt, Lochluichart, Corriemoillie, Little Garve, Gorstan, Grudie and Inchbae will see their broadband reliability, capacity and speeds soar from around 0.5Mbps to the UK’s fastest residential speeds of up to 1Gbps* – 2,000 times faster than their current top speed

The new network started to go live this week, with around 90 per cent of premises in Achnasheen now able to order a service.

The project follows a year of research by the voluntary group Garve and District Broadband (GDB), which looked at all the options for delivering broadband in the location, and concluded that a resilient, full-fibre network was the only way to provide, and future-proof, internet links for the small communities stretching across the Highland glens.

The technology provides additional capacity for data-hungry services and applications and adds more reliability and resilience to the network, meaning things are less likely to go wrong in the event of unforeseen circumstances or extreme weather conditions.

Substantial windfarm community benefit funds will be invested by the Lochluichart Community Trust alongside funding from Openreach, Scotland’s digital network business; the Digital Scotland project; and the UK Government’s Better Broadband scheme. Local residents are digging in the last few metres of cable to more than 35 per cent of the properties.

Community spokesman Steve Jones said: “It’s a tremendously exciting time. Like many residents I’ve only been getting very slow speeds capped at 0.5Mbps, making even the most basic of online activities difficult and frustrating, so looking forward to ultrafast speeds is fantastic.

“Fast, reliable broadband will bring huge potential to regenerate our scattered communities. It’s a prerequisite for attracting families and businesses to the area, where the population has fallen in recent years. People now expect good internet as a basic. In essence, it will help us to build a closer and more integrated community.

“Once the infrastructure goes live, we’ll start to enjoy the major benefits of being online with the fastest and most reliable speeds: watch catch up TV; stream films; Skype with ease; lower household costs; the whole family will be able to run all devices simultaneously; school kids will be able to do their homework online; greater independence at home; access to cheaper training, life-long learning and government services and, for businesses, lower costs and better marketing.

“As the online world continues to grow, the Garve and District community won’t be left behind – in fact, with ultrafast broadband on our doorstep, we’ll be leaping way ahead!”

Local businesses scattered throughout the glens are eagerly looking forward to the many benefits that access to the new FTTP network will bring. Much faster upload and download speeds will help them to improve the way they work, explore global markets and introduce more efficient operations and better back-up systems and processes.

Craig Duffield, partner at the Ledgowan Lodge country house hotel in Achnasheen, is among the first able to order an ultrafast service. He added: “Many of our visitors are used to city broadband speeds and we’d love them to have the same experience when they visit us.

“Ultrafast broadband will make a huge difference. We’ll be able to access and integrate online booking systems easily; download computing software; expand our conferencing services; and extend wifi around the hotel. We’ve tried this previously but there was so much demand that we had to restrict access.

“The community has worked really well together to make this happen – it will be great for the area. Trying to operate a business on less than half-a-megabit per second has been frustrating, but now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Lesley Negri, who runs the historic Aultguish Inn near Garve with her husband Dario, added: “It will make a huge difference to us, especially for our booking system and payments.

“At the moment everything slows down from 4pm and we can’t manage customer expectations. Many of our customers want to stream things or download photographs and it’s impossible to do that at the moment. We’ve lived with slow broadband for so long that we can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when we can access ultrafast speeds!”

Some properties in the Garve area already have access to fibre broadband at speeds of up to 80Mbps* through the Digital Scotland rollout. Once the new ultrafast network is complete, GDB and the Lochluichart Community Trust will consider whether it’s possible to extend FTTP even further.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director for Scotland, said: “The challenges facing the Garve and District communities were phenomenal and they’ve worked incredibly hard to develop a unique solution.

“With a collaborative, multi-partner approach and a fierce will among the community to dig in and deliver, this is a truly brilliant - and unique - example of what can be achieved.

“A huge amount of civil work is under way. We’re making good progress and we’re excited to announce today that the very first residents in Achnasheen can now place their orders with their chosen service provider. We expect to complete work by the end of this year.”

The Community Fibre Partnership scheme is designed to help people in places not included in any current roll-out plans to bring fibre broadband to their local area, working with Openreach to co-fund the installation.

Earlier this year, the UK government launched a Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme which can be used by small and medium-sized businesses and the local communities around them to contribute to the cost of full fibre broadband. Businesses can claim up to £3,000, and residents can also benefit from the scheme with a voucher worth £500 as part of a wider project.

Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital at HIE, said: “This is an interesting example demonstrating how the expanding fibre network being delivered through the Digital Scotland project in rural areas can be built upon to reach even further. By working together, the Achnasheen community and the Community Fibre Partnership are extending the coverage and benefits of fibre broadband to some of the area’s remotest premises.”

We're on the move!


Garve and District Broadband news/updates, in fact everything you want to know, will SOON be hosted on https://garve.org

We’re gradually moving across to the Garve.org  website for all the GDB latest updates, as well as posting and emailing information to you. 

We’re working with Tina and Lucy who are doing a grand job for us. 

Do visit Garve.org as soon as you can, and join in the conversations (on all subjects!) 

Eventually Garve and District Broadband news will no longer be hosted by achnasheenandgarve.com.



August Update 4 - it's gathering momentum!

August has been a big month for the broadband project. Much of the fibre infrastructure will be in place and some of it tested and ready to use...
In Achnasheen, all selfdigs are complete. BTO has now commissioned the fibre network. This means connecting the fibre cable to the connection boxes and testing the network to make sure it works properly.

Most of you will now be able to order an FTTP broadband service. There are only a small number of FTTP broadband internet service providers (ISPs) at the present time. Check them out at  https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/fibre-broadband/ultrafast-broadband/ultrafast-fibre-buy-it-now

Look through their deals and find the best one for you. Then order a service through your chosen ISP.
The ISP will arrange for fibre cable to be installed from your connection box to your house and for the external and internal connections to be made to get you up and running. The process can take up to 6 weeks from when you place your order.

Other areas

See the BTO update below for progress in other areas.

Little Garve to Aultguish is nearly ready for commissioning work. But there are still some selfdigs to do (by 27th August please - BTO has put back from 10 August). And there is a delay for a few properties because of Forestry Commission permission and wayleaves.    

BTO is still building the network between Garve and Achanalt. There’s been great progress on selfdigs. Although BTO has yet to confirm a deadline, aim to get them finished by early October.

The media are interested because this is the biggest community fibre partnership project that BTO has undertaken in Scotland. (Further information in a separate post on this site).

Calling all you selfdiggers

Brilliant progress on self digs. Over half of them have been done already, and there are many more in the process of being done.

Please make sure that when you apply for your grant, you send us a completed application form and a signed and dated invoice (s) made out to you and itemised as we have previously specified. We need this for our audit purposes.  

Note that for Garve to Aultguish selfdigs, BTO has just put back the deadline from 10 August to 27 August.
Just a reminder that you need to complete them by the BTO deadline so that BTO can classify your property as ready to accept a fibre service. This means that there are no delays in you ordering and getting a fibre broadband service.

If BTO cannot classify your property like this when they do the commissioning work, you will still be able to get a fibre service. But it could take up to a couple of months longer and you may incur 'excess construction charges' which you will have to pay for - GDB / LCT will not pay for these additional costs.

22 August 2018


Important update for Garve to Aultguish - from BTO - Broadband Self Digs

The above, under Network 2 - Garve to Aultguish is particularly important to those who are undertaking self digs.

The deadline for completion is Friday 10th August - as outlined in the above schedule:

Activities in Progress 
Surveys and detailed planning – Completed
Spine fibre – Ongoing
Spine build between Inchbae & Aultguish progressing. Traffic management is required along the remaining road to complete the spine.
Local fibre build work – Ongoing
Fibre jointing with spine and local infrastructure has started
Two sites for poling/civils work require discussions with the Forestry Commission – discussions continue
DYO build – ongoing, all customers except the two sites mentioned above now have equipment and know where build to
Network commissioning and auditing – planning started

We plan to start commissioning work in August.  In order for that to happen all DYO’s must be completed by Friday 10th August