I live in a fairly remote Highland glen and, in my role as Get IT Together Project Coordinator, I cover a large part of the West Highlands of Scotland – specifically Skye, Wester Ross and Lochaber – which is stunningly beautiful. If you enjoy the outdoors and all things wild and wonderful, then there is no better place to be in my opinion (see my colleague Irene's Blog for her regular pitch for North West Sutherland being the best!)
Whilst the views are spectacular, there are a few logistical issues – the mountains tend to get in the way of mobile phone signals, and they are also pretty expensive to run fibre optic cable over or around – hence the fact that much of my area has patchy 2G signal at best (all of those TV reports showing how much faster you can download a movie on 4G than 3G were slightly irritating to watch – do they even remember 2G?) and many communities have current download speeds of around 0.2Mbps – that’s essentially “dial up” speed for those of you who have moved on to bigger and better things.
However, we love where we live, and many people are prepared to get stuck in and build the infrastructure required to be part of the digital world. Some of the communities I work with have accepted that it will never be commercially viable for one of the big internet service providers to connect them to broadband of any speed, so they are doing it themselves. The communities of Knoydart, the Small Isles, and Applecross are now all receiving broadband as a result of their community drive, determination and hard graft. Take a look at the HUBS and Tegola project website to get an in depth view of what has been involved in them setting up and maintaining their own broadband service – or if you are short of time, just watch the video below for a taste of what is possible - be inspired!