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Faster broadband set to arrive in Grantown soon

By Tom Ramage

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Hopes are high that Strathspey will soon be receiving a major broadband boost after a four-year campaign backed by the Grantown Society and hundreds of businesses and individual users.

Society chairman Bill Sadler announced the good news in his new year review.

"In truth it has been such an enormously busy year for us that it is hard to summarise and consider all we have done," he explained.

"Many will look back on 2021 as a year of disease and despair. Others will see it as a year of possibilities and progress. For us it was very much of the latter and very largely focused on 'resources' and our newly established charitable status.

"We made good use of our resources, too, by providing support, displays and information for example Sustainable Strathspey, Grantown Initiative, NHS Highland, Grantown Museum, Royal British Legion – also for individuals on topics as varied as the Spey for a TV programme, a Grantown photographer for an Orkney Newsletter, on buildings, events and genealogy."

But the society’s biggest digital contribution was the provision of gigabit capability broadband for the many experiencing an inadequate service at present, Mr Sadler said: "Strathspey Now will go live early in 2022."

The move would bring a huge boost to the community, say the digital creators behind Strathspey Now.

"We know many are struggling with poor broadband," a spokesperson said.

"We are working hard to launch a new gigabit-capable broadband network that will not only deliver the broadband service homes and businesses need but will also benefit the Strathspey community with digital support for multiple audiences."

The company is celebrating the registration of more than 300 users in the Strathspey area, saying that "the more who register the more we can help".

The spokesperson said: "We are close to announcing our plans to help create a gigabit-capable broadband network - but we still need more to register.

"If the lock-downs taught us anything, it is that we all need access to better internet connectivity.

"We want to do something about it and have worked with the Grantown Society since 2017 to explore how we might be able to delivery digital support to the town and surrounding area.

"This ‘registration of interest’ is the first step in trying to provide a solution for our community – inviting residents, businesses and organisations to register interest in gigabit-capable broadband.

"We are striving to be different – not just looking at how we provide improved connectivity but also by delivering a network that will deliver community benefit – all at no more than what people are paying today."

Grantown will be the hub, with the service potentially stretching from Aviemore in the west to Aberlour in the east.

The spokesperson said: "If the demand is there, we can look to reach those living and working in and around Advie, Boat of Garten, Carrbridge, Coylumbridge, Cromdale, Craggan, Dava, Dulnain Bridge, Nethy Bridge and Tomintoul."

Already the justification for better broadband has been demonstrated in the Strathspey capital by its society, Mr Sadler said in his report.

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