The availability of easily affordable high speed broadband in Scotland has become widespread in recent years, much as it has across the rest of the UK. However, with around 99 per cent of Scotland’s population connected, it was discovered that there was a problem regarding the reach of broadband in Scotland.
Scotland’s broadband reach problem means that for the one per cent of people without a broadband connection in Scotland, there is difficulty accessing the internet as a result of the distance between their house and the nearest broadband-enabled telephone exchange.
Fairly recently, it seemed this remaining one per cent of the Scottish population had no realistic chance of connecting to broadband in the foreseeable future, but a government initiative has changed that dim outlook and the future of broadband in Scotland suddenly looks brighter.
We’ve tried to explain just what’s happening regarding the roll-out of broadband services to rural Scotland and answer any questions you may have regarding the Scottish Broadband Reach Project.
What is the Scottish broadband reach problem?
A reach problem or reach issue occurs when a house, office or business premises is situated too far away from the nearest broadband or ADSL-enabled telephone exchange. Over long distances the telephone signal has degraded so much that it reaches a level where it cannot provide a broadband service.
The length of the line is the major factor in this problem. So numerous hills or valleys, or even the presence of water, can increase the distance the cable has to cover, and as such, lead to lack of broadband connection.
How far away is too far?
There is no hard and fast rule. But an estimated 5km radius (around 8km of line length) from the broadband-enabled telephone exchange could be enough to mean that your house or business cannot receive broadband.
Solving the reach problem for broadband in Scotland
The Scottish Government started an initiative called the Broadband Reach Programme. This saw the award of a grant to a company called Avanti Communications to bring broadband to the areas of Scotland currently unable to gain access to a broadband connection.
Bringing broadband to everyone
In October 2007, the Scottish Government asked any homes and business unable to get broadband in Scotland to register with them. The government began to compile a list of all the Scottish broadband black spots so that it could start addressing the problems of reach and make broadband in Scotland available to everyone.
By June 2008, the Scottish government signed a £3.3m contract to deliver an affordable broadband service to all the households and business that had registered to say they could not get broadband services in Scotland.
A company called Avanti Communications won the contract to help provide people who are currently without any broadband access in Scotland, with affordable broadband connections.
Stuck in the middle?
There is a far greater problem than this however for an even larger percentage of Scottish businesses than the 1% who cannot access the Internet at all . An estimated 10% of Scottish businesses most of whom rely on their connection to the internet just to do business are stuck in the middle? These businesses fall within an area where they do have access to ADSL connectivity and are thus ineligible to benefit from the Scottish Governments scheme, but can achieve connection speeds of 1.5Mbps or less.
For these businesses, the picture is far bleaker. Their options are usually to either:
- Pay for a leased line which can result in prohibitive costs of 10-20 thousand pounds per year.
- Sign up to more than one DSL connection and connect these to a load sharing router which offers a limited answer to the problem.
- Sign up to a broadband bonding service where their multiple DSL connections are diverted away from their local exchange and passed to a remote service location where the traffic is modified to include control information which creates the illusion that the site has one single faster connection.
- Grin and bear it. Struggle on with a sub par connection which impedes the ability of their business to make use of the Internet and downright prevents them from being able to do certain things which other businesses take for granted such as video or voice services.
………………………….. or ………………………
Traditionally this was the stark choice faced by businesses caught in the middle. That is however, until now.
At Rustyice Solutions we have entered into a close relationship with Mushroom Networks Inc of San Diego, California to bring their innovative and award winning products to the UK.
Already, we are providing businesses throughout the UK the cost effective solution to this problem with a range of products designed to provide a truly high speed broadband experience. Our solutions provide speeds up to 50Mbps in locations where this type of connection would typically cost ten times more every year than the one off cost of the Mushroom Networks equipment.
So, if you are left in the doldrums and part of this “squeezed middle” congratulations! You have just found the answer. Give us a call today and one of our technical representatives will call you back at a time of your convenience for a no obligation chat. We look forward to hearing from you.