Community Broadband

2 April 2017

Broadband Update:

Superfast broadband has been available in Kinlochbervie for several weeks .  The cabinet is in Dog Street near the Bijou gift shop.  Initial feedback suggests that customers are receiving speeds between 25 Mbs (at Loch Clash) and 60-70 Mbs (McBeath Court, Innis Place).  In order to obtain fibre broadband, it is necessary to sign up with an internet service provider.  It does not happen automatically.

To get superfast speeds (24 Mbs or more), a property should be within about 1.2 km of the exchange. Beyond this distance, satellite is the only current method available of increasing internet speeds.  If  your current speed is less than 2 Mbs, you might be interested in the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme which can provide a grant of £350 towards satellite installation.

In the future, 4G will be an option in areas not currently covered.  There is currently a program to roll out 4G coverage to all of Scotland by the end of 2018.

The following article from Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband has information about “long lines”; this refers to the situation where properties are too far from the cabinet to benefit from fibre broadband.  This applies to about 50% of the properties in the Kinlochbervie area.

Long Line Information

The following table gives some information about different broadband speeds.

20 January 2017

Superfast broadband has arrived and is ready for sign-up with internet service providers.

To find out whether you can get fibre broadband and to be directed to a list of suppliers, click on the following link and enter  your address.

Then click the button that reads:  “Great news.  Superfast fibre is in your area.  Find out which Service Providers can offer you Superfast fibre broadband today”.

You can check out what speeds you might expect at your address at:

Kinlochbervie residents can expect improved speeds within 2.5 km of the exchange.  If you live beyond 2.5 km, satellite is really the only current method available of increasing internet speeds.  The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme provides a grant of £350 towards satellite installation.

Community Broadband Scotland has provided a helpful update on the current broadband situation in Kinlochbervie.

Kinlochbervie Broadband Update Dec 2016

January 2017

The fibre broadband cabinet was installed in Dog Street late in 2016.  It is now active but service providers are not yet able to sign up new customers.   This should happen early in 2017.

To keep track of the status of the fibre band rollout for your address, check:

Currently a Kinlochbervie address shows this message:  Your cabinet is enabled for Superfast fibre.  However you’re not able to order fibre just yet.  In contrast, a Scourie address shows this message:  Great news, you may be able to order a fibre service.  Check with one of these service providers to see if they’re offering fibre in your area.  Those who signed up earlier this week in Scourie have been given a start date of early February.

How do you know if your address can benefit from the cabinet?  Once the service is ready, check the following website:

Kinlochbervie residents can expect improved speeds within 2.5 km of the exchange.  If you live beyond this, satellite is really the only current method available of increasing internet speeds.  The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme provides a grant of £350 towards satellite installation.  Other possible options are in the planning stages such as 4G mobile phone coverage.

December 2017

Community Broadband Scotland have put together an informative update on the current broadband situation in Kinlochbervie.

Kinlochbervie Broadband Update Dec 2016

Key points covered include:

  • installation of fibre broadband cabinet
  • impact of cabinet and how to get connected
  • options for those who will not benefit from the cabinet including the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme


Broadband Options in a Changing Political Landscape

It is clear that there is strong political support for making superfast broadband available to all.   The Scottish Government has recently pledged that superfast broadband will be available to 100% of premises by 2021.  It is unclear at the present time as to how this target will be reached.

There are currently 4 potential options (all in flux) for delivering superfast broadband to remote areas:

  •  Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB)

This is the current fibre rollout programme.  The target is to reach 84% of premises by December 2016.  The status of individual postcodes can be checked at   The installation of the fibre cabinet in Kinlochbervie is expected by the end of 2016.  This will benefit premises up to 2.5 km from the cabinet.  As the cabinet is most likely to be located in the village, those living beyond Kinlochbervie are unlikely to benefit.

  • Community-Owned Broadband

This is the current program of Community Broadband Scotland.  Our community broadband survey (March 2016) was financed under this scheme.  Community-owned broadband makes most sense if a community has the resources to run it.  As the list of potential subscribers in the Kinlochbervie area is very small (best estimate:  100 people), community-owned broadband would only be viable if run completely by volunteers.  In light of the fast-moving political landscape, the current advice is for communities such as Kinlochbervie to wait for future developments.

  • National Satellite Broadband Scheme Vouchers

The current voucher scheme provides a one-off contribution of £350 towards the cost of installing satellite broadband. Households living in areas with broadband speeds of less than 2 Mbps are eligible.

The voucher scheme is currently being modified.  Now rebranded as the “Better Broadband Scheme”, more information should be available later in August.  The website (currently being updated) can be found at


  • 4G Rollout

Over the next 12-18 months there are plans to increase mobile phone connectivity through improvements to 4G coverage.  This will involve upgrading existing masts and building new masts.  4G is cheaper than satellite but data costs are generally more expensive than landline-based broadband.  Read the BBC news story:


North West Sutherland Community Broadband Meeting – 13 June 2016

Community Broadband Scotland hosted an area-wide meeting at the Elphin Community Hall on 13 June 2016.  The meeting was attended by representatives of the following community development groups:  Melness and  Tongue Community Development Trust; Kinlochbervie Community Company; Scourie Community Development Company; Assynt Community Association; Elphin, Ledmore and Knockan Broadband Group; Melness, Tongue and Skerray Community Council; and Coigach Community Development Company.

The questionable viability of community-owned broadband schemes for small populations was highlighted by all participants.   It was also clear that the political landscape regarding the broadband roll-out was changing constantly and there would likely be improved broadband availability throughout the area in the next few years.

The UK Government has made a pledge (UK Universal Service Obligation) that every premise would be able to receive 10 Mbps by 2020; this “obligation” is currently subject to reveiew.  Further, the SNP has has made an election manifesto commitment to deliver superfast broadband (minimum 30 Mbps) to 100% of premises by 2021.  There is very little information on what technology might be used or how the rollout to all premises will be funded.

Community Broadband Scotland can develop projects in “white” postcodes; these are areas which will not be reached by the current rollout of superfast broadband.  In the Kinlochbervie area, this would be all premises that are more than approximately 2.0 km from the cabinet (likely to be placed in the centre of the village).

The next steps:

  • Community Broadband Scotland will identify “white” postcodes.
  • Community Broadband Scotland will engage consultants to carry out an Open Market Review to identify the plans of commercial operators regarding “white” postcode area (expected completion early 2017).
  • The results of the Open Market Review will be used to formulate plans for reaching the Scottish Government target of 30 Mbps for all premises by 2021.

The consensus of the group was to “wait and see” for now but to continue to talk to each other.  Community Broadband Scotland will keep the group informed of continuing developments.


Impact of Survey Conclusions

Although a significant percentage of premises in the Kinlochbervie area receive unsatisfactory broadband speeds (less than 2 megabytes per second), the total number of people affected is small.  A community-owned broadband scheme is unlikely to be viable unless it is entirely run by volunteers.  Another possible option would to participate in a larger project that would involve several communities in North West Sutherland.

Community Broadband Survey – March 2016

The Community Broadband Survey has been completed – 57 from residents and 7 from holiday home owners.

  • The average download speed in the area is 3.9 megabytes per second.
  • The average upload speed is 0.37 megabytes per second.
  • Almost 40% of respondents reported download speeds below 2 mbs – this is what the U.K. defines as the minimum for “basic broadband service”.
  • There is a huge disparity between the village of Kinlochbervie and the outlying areas.

Click the link below to view the whole report.

Kinlochbervie Community Broadband Study 21 March 2016


Community Broadband Survey – 21 February 2016

There is one week left to do complete the Community Broadband Survey.  The easiest way is online:

The purpose of the survey is to discover the pattern of broadband speeds in the Kinlochbervie area, whether people are satisfied with their broadband speeds and whether there is interest in faster broadband.  Superfast broadband is being rolled out across Scotland but under current plans, it will not reach remote communities like ours.  The Community Broadband Survey is necessary before we can move on to the second stage in the Community Broadband Scotland program which is an assessment of technical solutions.

The survey will be open until February 29, after which the results will be tabulated and put on this website.

Community Broadband Survey – 13 February 2016

We have sent over 200 questionnaires to households in the Kinlochbervie area.  The purpose of the survey is to discover broadband speeds in this area and to assess demand for faster broadband.

The quickest way to do the survey is to complete it online – it just takes a few minutes:

You may also fill in the survey by hand and post it to us or drop it off in the striped boxes (at Garage & at Ceilidh House).  Click the links below for copies of the questionnaire and the covering letter.

KLB Broadband Questionnaire

Community Broadband Covering Letter

We also want to hear from people who have holiday homes or second homes in the area.

The deadline for returning the survey is Friday 26 February 2016.

Stage 1 Study – January 2016

Our funding application for the Stage 1 study was approved in early January.  Once all the paperwork has been completed, we will send out surveys to all households in the  Kinlochbervie Community Council area (postcodes IV27 4RA to IV27 4RZ).

Working Committee Meeting – 15 December 2015

We have submitted an application for funding to carry out the Stage 1 study.

First Meeting of Working Committee

We are ready to start on Stage 1.  The first meeting of the Working Committee will take place on Tuesday 15 December 2015 at 7:00 pm at the Harbour Offices in Kinlochbervie.

Community Broadband Meeting – 21 October 2015

The Community Company requested that Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Community Broadband Scotland hold a public meeting in Kinlochbervie.  Over 20 residents attended the meeting on 21 October 2015.   Nick Scroggie of HIE and Sarah Jones  of Community Broadband Scotland made presentations about the rollout of  superfast broadband and Scotland’s community broadband program.

Current plans are for a cabinet to be installed in Kinlochbervie in 2016.  Fibre optic cable will run from the main network (backhaul) to the local exchange and then to the cabinet.  Broadband speeds will be substantially increased within 1 km of the cabinet but will drop off steeply after 2 km.  This means that the cabinet will have maximum benefit for village residents but will not improve the current situation for most of those living outside the village.

Through a show of hands, there was very strong support expressed at the meeting for going ahead with Stage 1.  Several people also put their names forward to be part of working committee for Stage 1.

Community Broadband Scotland

Community Broadband Scotland is a project of the Scottish Government and is being implemented by HIE.  The focus is on “areas least likely to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollouts”.  Funds are provided to help communities pursue local broadband solutions.  There are 3 components to the program.

  • Stage 1 (100% funding):  study to determine current broadband speeds and interest in receiving superfast broadband
  • Stage 2 (100% funding):  study of technical alternatives for the provision of community broadband
  • Stage 3 (up to 89% funding): preparation of business plan and construction of infrastructure to deliver community broadband

Upon the completion of the project, the community would own and maintain the infrastructure and would receive any revenue from customers for supplying broadband.

For more information, please visit the Community Broadband website: