A North-east community is angry over poor broadband reception which is affecting individual households, farms and small businesses in the area.
Moss of Cruden Commuity Association (MOCCA) is now seeking alternative solutions to the problem after discoveringthat the present roll-out of superfast broadband will bypass most rural areas.
MOCCA is currently engaging with Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) to explore the development of a community-led broadband solution for rural properties.
Michele Emslie, vice-chair of the group says: “We recently held a public meeting for anyone receiving less than 2mbps with their current broadband.
“This was not only to help the Moss of Cruden area, residents in another areas who want the opportunity to access a better and faster broadband network were also welcome to explore their options.”
Residents from the Clola and Kinmundy areas attended the launch of the Superfast Broadband at the Macbi Community Hub last December to express their anger, disappointment and frustrations at being bypassed.
Residents in Clola have no access to a landline broadband service at all.
One resident, Diane Burnett, said that she had spoken to BT on several occasions asking when they might get broadband.
“BT said the line was of poor quality and that it was not cost effective to replace the line due to the length of distance from the exchange.,” said Diane.
“My eight year-old son cannot understand why we haven’t got broadband and we find it very difficult to explain w.”
Ms Emslie, who is also a member of Longside Community Council, was also present at the Mintlaw launch.
She said: “Residents are very angry as they are unable to get access to broadband and many more residents are so angry and frustrated with the constant slow and unreliable broadband that they presently have.
“Openreach engineers are regular visitors to our area even at weekends.
Michele continued: We question why there has been so much investment in replacing a good service people already have and bypass those that haven’t.
“And why should those that have poor broadband pay the same price for delivery of a service that is not equivalent to that service of others nearer to the exchange?
“It is not acceptable! Broadband nowadays is considered a vital and essential service and a much-needed lifeline for many people especially the more vulnerable and ageing residents.
“It is also vital for local economy.
“If the community pulls together we will be guaranteed a better, faster broadband for all to enjoy,” she added.
At the recent meeting, Shaun Marley from CBS explained the process of Community Engagement and offered advice on how the community can take the prospect forward.
The first stage is a community scoping exercise. If this reveals a need and demand then CBS will support the community through the next stages of the process. These include accessing funding and creating a business plan.
For further information please see MOCCA’s website - www.mocca.org.uk