Big turnout shows anger at south Bute broadband service

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The depth of feeling over the dismal broadband speeds endured by people living at the south end of Bute was underlined when a packed house went to the Kingarth Hotel to discuss the topic on Tuesday night.

The meeting was called by Kilchattan Bay residents Anne Bissell and Tom Cromack and attended by Campbell Cameron from Community Broadband Scotland, a government initiative set up to help remote and rural communities improve their broadband services where commercial providers believe it is uneconomic to do so.

Around 50 people packed into the small room to hear the extent of the problem facing south Bute householders and businesses - who have to endure speeds as low as 0.4 megabits per second (MBPS), when the UK average is 12MBPS and many homes in larger cities can enjoy super-fast speeds of 30MBPS or above.

Also present at Tuesday’s meeting was Dr David Crawford from the University of Strathclyde, who gave an update on the pilot ‘white space’ project operating at the south end of the island, which uses unused portions of the radio spectrum to provide broadband services.

Various options for a community broadband project were discussed during the course of the 90-minute meeting, and a committee was formed to look at the possibilities in more detail.

“We haven’t answered the main question of when we’re going to get a good broadband service,” Mr Cromack acknowledged at the end of the meeting, “but that looks like something which, at the moment, we cannot do.

“We now have the basis of a group which is interested in taking the subject forward, and we would appreciate people’s feedback in the future.”