Superfast broadband has spread its wings into another rural area in Stirling after an innovative community project went live.

Funded by an initial £18,563 investment from Stirling Council, Argaty & Kilbryde Broadband Group (AKBG) are collaborating with local company Briskona to deliver fixed wireless radio technology to 60 properties across the area.

Having access to world class broadband will boost the local economy and help residents access public and commercial services.

Among the businesses who will benefit from the vastly improved connectivity are farms, holiday accommodation and various design companies.

Members of the community swooped in at local visitor attraction, Argaty Red Kites, to celebrate the milestone, along with representatives from the Council and other partners. 

Mike Smith, Treasurer of the Argaty and Kilbryde Broadband Group, said: “Like other rural communities in Scotland, we have struggled to access fast and reliable broadband and getting connected to the network is already proving transformative for families and businesses in the area.

“We are delighted with the success of this project, which is a great example of the community coming together and working in partnership with the Council and other agencies.

“In particular, we would like to thank Stirling Council for their support, while Briskona Ltd, a local company, has delivered the fixed wireless broadband technology on time and within budget.”

The Council is supporting projects in communities across the area to develop alternative broadband solutions, with £300,000 of annual capital funding invested in the scheme.

One Full-Time Equivalent Rural Broadband Project Officer, supported by the Council and the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER programme, is in place until March 2020, to provide technical, project and funding support to communities.

Convener of the Finance and Economy Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “It’s fantastic to see another rural community in Stirling is now online and able to reap the benefits of fast and reliable broadband.

“Local people in Argaty & Kilbryde have led on this project and the Council have been delighted to support them throughout the process, and we will continue to work in partnership with other communities who are looking to access this key infrastructure.”

There are now three live projects across rural Stirling - Balquhidder, Argaty & Kilbryde, and Stockiemuir – while two other areas, The Trossachs and Carron Valley are out to tender.

Elsewhere, Blairlogie, Gartness and Auchinteck are at the design stage, while nine additional rural locations - Ardeonaig, Arnprior, Crainlarich, East Loch Lomond, Fintry, Kinlochard, Stronachlachar and Tyndrum - are exploring solutions.

Council officers have also been helping Strathard Community Trust in the procurement of a free public Wi-Fi network for Aberfoyle town centre.

Vice Convener of the Finance and Economy Committee, Cllr Alison Laurie said: “Having fast and reliable connectivity is transformational for communities, boosting the local economy and allowing people access to essential services.

“It’s great news for residents and businesses in Argaty & Kilbryde and we are determined to get more of our remote communities online.”

Pictured at the purpose-built hide at Argaty Kites are (from left) Mike Smith, Treasurer of AKBG; Senad Cehaja, LEADER Project Assistant; Jamie Parsons, Director at Briskona; Stuart Oliver, Stirling Council Senior Manager, Economic Development, Culture & Tourism; Shaun Marley, Stirling Council Broadband Advisor; Niall Bowser, Chairperson of AKBG


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