Edinburgh Research Explorer

Broadband for Rural Scotland: a white paper

Research output: Working paper

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

Abstract

The Tegola project is dedicated to research into the provision of high-speed internet access to remote and rural areas. As part of the project, we have built a testbed which demonstrates that it is now possible to provide the most remote parts of the Scottish mainland with speed and quality of service better than what is available in most UK cities. This report describes our findings based on our experience from constructing and monitoring this testbed for over a year. To summarise:

• If speed and quality of service are important, they are doubly important in remote areas, where other forms of communication are lacking.
• With the existing infrastructure, as many as 20% of the residences in Scotland may be unable to receive the speed of 2Mbps advocated in [CAR09] – a speed which is, in our opinion still far too low to meet the needs of remote communities. Even by upgrading the existing infrastructure, this figure is unlikely to change.
• An alternative form of distribution based on terrestrial wireless is both workable and cost-effective thanks to the recent and dramatic fall in the cost of wireless technology.
• While commercial distribution to consumers in remote areas is unlikely to prove profitable, community-driven partnerships can succeed.
• In order that rural Scotland does not get left further behind in the broadband revolution, immediate planning is needed for the backhaul to support internet access by remote communities.

In writing this report we have tried to minimise the jargon and technical details. But there are a few terms that are important to understand, and we have included explanatory footnotes where needed. For further information, please consult our website www.tegola.org.uk and the various technical reports cited in this paper.

ID: 22151924