N E W S F E E D S >>>

Caithness.org News Bulletins

Caithness.org News 2002 Index

Broadband On Message Board

Broadband On Message Board 2

Broadband Issues
Back To Broadband Index Page

3 September 03
ADSL Guide  - Wick Registrations So Far
Needs many more at the BT and Hydro sites if Wick is to get nearer .  Still no trigger figure set by BT.  If you know anyone in wick who might be interested in helping us all get Broadband ask them to register their interest as soon as possible at the BT and Hydro sites.,

1 September 03
Survey Of Businesses Shows
Massive Increase in Broadband Use
British Chambers Of Commerce

Business broadband take-up doubles to 40 per cent. as half of UK companies say broadband is critical to their success.  The British Chambers of Commerce today launches the largest independent survey of business broadband usage ever undertaken in the UK. Sponsored by Oracle and Cisco Systems ‘Business Broadband’ polled 4,000 businesses in the UK from all sectors and company sizes.......................

7 August 03
Thurso Reaches The Magic 500 Trigger
Thurso has reached 500 sign ups at the BT Broadband site and we await some announcements.  Wick meantime has only 249 sign upsA lower  population and less folk using the Internet in the east of the county may mean Broadband will be slower to come in unless the powers that be make some arrangements or a low trigger.  Without a lower trigger or a definite move to get Broadband into Wick it may not happen.  Will Caithness.org have to move house????????????????????? 

11 July 03
Are We Nearly There Yet?

BT has announced 400 Additional Exchanges in the UK with trigger levels.  Thurso has been set a trigger of 500.  Wick does not appear to have a trigger level as yet.   Sign ups In Wick 222  Thurso 385.   So Thurso is well on its way.  But essentially both towns need more people o sign up at the BT Broadband site.
 If you have not done it do it now.  If you have phone a friend and ask them to sign up.  Other town campaigns are moving on and BT has said they will set things going once these figures confirm demand for Broadband in an area.
To check the trigger levels go to -
Or sign up at www.bt.com/broadband

27 June 03
Reply To Query by Paul Cannop From BT Shows
Little chance of ADSL Broadband in The Near future

Your line is connected to the Thurso exchange. So far 370 customers have registered an interest against your exchange, but unfortunately we are unable to set a trigger level. The costs of upgrading  have proven so high, that the trigger level is unrealistic judged against the number of subscribers on your exchange. Consequently, we have decided not to publish it.

There are a number of substantial costs involved in upgrading an exchange for broadband ADSL--these include the ADSL equipment in the exchange, the installation of that equipment and the back haul connections. Taken together, these costs can run into hundred thousands of pounds and we need to have a sound business wherever we make these investments.

In order to find a solution for exchanges like Thurso, we are looking into ways to reduce the costs associated with upgrading an exchange for ADSL broadband. We will continue to review your exchange on a quarterly basis and try to set a target in a later stage.

I hope this sheds some light on your query,
Miranda van de Heijning
BT Wholesale, Broadband Deployment Team

17 June 03

Up to 1,300 businesses and community groups across the Highlands and Islands are in line to share £500,000 worth of grants to help them upgrade to broadband telecommunications.  The area's development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is making the funding available to accelerate the take-up of broadband services in the region.

17 June 03
IT Firm Helps Highland Businesses Save £10,000
Leading Scottish IT consultancy, Escape, will next month show businesses throughout the
Highlands and Islands how they could shave almost £10,000 off their IT and internet bills by using new ADSL internet technology.

27 May 03
Broadband Balloons Could Do It For The Highlands

Could Broadband be here sooner than we thought.

23 May 03
Broadband Britain Counts Two Million Homes

21 May 03
Sign Ups Still Increasing
Thurso 329 and Wick 202
Register your interest at BT Broadband site

7 May 03
Digital Divide Hits Rural Business

6 May 03
BT Urges Urgent Action Action On Rural Broadband

24 April 03
Sign Ups For Broad band at BT Site
Thurso reaches 325 and Wick 196 at the BT Broadband site

26 March 03
Caithness.org Message Board Users May Move To Scottish Hydro Broadband Campaign

Folk waiting on broadband in Caithness may begin to move their registrations to Hydro Board if the area is to be left without a trigger for upgrading.  Some folk may play safe and register with both.  Scottish Hydro sounds like it will be having lots of Caithness registrations.  Registering in a few places may get them all moving.....

17 March 03
Jamie Stone MSP is leading the campaign for broadband technology to be rolled out in the Far North. Scotland's First Minister, Jack McConnell, spoke about the Executive's plans to increase access to broadband across the country during First Minister's Questions this week.  This follows his announcement at the Highlands and Islands convention on Monday that six telephone exchanges in the Highlands - Forres, Nairn, Dingwall, Buckie, Oban and Fort William - will be upgraded for broadband.

11 March 03
BT is not the only answer
Another possibility has been suggested and that is that Scottish Hydro Electric who are also expanding in the Broadband services arena.  You can check out your area by postcode on their web site.   Not available in Caithness yet and in very few other areas but if a few enquires were made then we might spark them off.  Our enquiry is already away and we await a reply........

7 March 03
Keep Going After Great Surge In Numbers
Tell a friend or relative
Wick now 144  Thurso now 239

7 March 03
Mid Band -
Will We Become The Poor Relation In Caithness?

Read about this latest possibility at Online Guardian  - that BT may try to give us in rural areas instead of Broadband.  It might be available sooner but is it what we really need or want.  Community web site folk down south seem to be against the idea if we never get Broadband as its is no use for online games (big and growing) or for many aspects for business users.  Take a look at the article and lets see your thoughts on the Message Board 

4 March 03
Broadband Sign Ups In Caithness At BT Site
Wick 121  Thurso 195
BT Broadband site

7 February 03
We Are not Alone -  Check Out Multithread

Listing some other areas trying to push for Broadband.

7 February 03
AOL American subscribers Drop As More Turn To Broadband - New York Times Technology
it appears that broadband subscriptions in the United States increased to about 16 million at year's end from 10 million a year earlier, out of about 60 million total households online. The broadband offering by the three big dial-up players totals no more than 2 million subscribers.................

28 January 03
A project manager has been appointed to oversee the £1.5 million Connected Communities project, which aims to deliver wireless broadband across the Western Isles. 
John Black, a radio telecoms consultant, took over as project manager this month. The timing of his appointment coincides with a major survey of over 1,000 Western Isles-based businesses to establish their broadband requirements.

21 January 03
Turning On The internet Tap
The campaign to convert internet access in the Highlands and Islands from a luxury that ties up your telephone line to a utility that doesn't, is to receive another major boost.
The move forms part of the drive towards helping the Highlands and Islands to become the first region in the UK, to achieve more than 95% coverage of broadband, the latest in communications technology.  If achieved, this would be seen as the most significant development in telecommunications in a generation, and could be compared to the introduction of mainstream electricity in the area fifty years ago.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is to invest almost £750,000 in two major projects to promote the benefits of broadband and encourage people to register their interest in receiving it.

Latest Registration In Caithness 21 January 03
Wick 89  Thurso 123

7 December 2002
Everyone needs to get two more people to sign up or we will not get this thing off the ground in Caithness.
Current state of play today is
Wick 72   Thurso 111
Well done to those who have now signed up to get ten times faster access.  But we need to keep going as BT are still insisting that without demand they will not upgrade the exchanges.  There is also the possibility that if this takes too long some folk will opt for satellite connection and they will no longer be interested in signing up for the normal service making it harder for everyone else to get the service running soon.  We are also likely to find we are in a queue to get the work carried out.  If other areas get their quota first then they will be ahead for getting on to the list for the work.  This is all speculative but we have been told vaguely what needs to be done.  If we get the numbers we can toss the ball back to BT and then make noises to get them to carry out the work - nicely of course!!!

Plans To Accelerate Reach Of Broadband

Plans to accelerate the roll out of Broadband, stimulate competition and improve access to customers for all service providers, were outlined On Monday 2 December 2002.

Up to £24m has been allocated to support business take-up and ensure that by the end of 2003, at least 70% of the population have access to ADSL Broadband. Summarising the impact of the intervention strategy, Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Life Long Learning Iain Gray said:

"By the end of 2003, we aim to take Scotland from the current ADSL coverage figure of around 40% of the population, beyond the current UK figure of 66%, to a level in excess of 70%. We want to do this through a commercial partnership, which will, of course, be subject to State Aid rules.

If we do not intervene, commercial projections indicate that we will not achieve 70% coverage until 2006, which is not acceptable"

The Minister announced the initiative at the launch of the Executive’s progress report on "Connecting Scotland: Our Broadband Future" – Making it Happen.

An extension of Broadband infrastructure and a technology-neutral marketing campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of existing services will be part of the package.

Mr Gray said:
"When my predecessor, Wendy Alexander, launched the Executive’s broadband strategy last year, its aim was to promote affordable access across Scotland, to facilitate economic development and to prevent a digital divide between urban and rural areas.

Since the launch of the strategy, and despite the recession in the global telecoms market, there has been progress on commercial coverage."

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are driving forward initiatives to stimulate demand through the establishment of Broadband demo centres throughout Scotland, a programme of road shows and a newly launched information website to advise and inform both business and individuals about broadband in Scotland.

Trials of alternative delivery mechanisms for rural areas are underway including a major Wireless project in the Western Isles, Powerline carrier projects in Crieff and Campbeltown, and Scottish Enterprise’s ATLAS project. The Enterprise Agencies also have a number of initiatives to encourage the development of content and applications.

To stimulate demand for higher bandwidth connectivity, particularly in the remoter parts of Scotland, ‘Pathfinder’ projects are being developed. Negotiations between the Executive and other public sector organisations in Scotland are due to conclude with the awarding of contracts for these projects next summer.

The Minister said:
"Despite everything that is already being done, we always accepted that intervention might be necessary to kick start a positive chain of events, that's why the provision was in the original strategy. Having listened to what businesses are telling us, we are acting to increase access and stimulate demand.

Our actions, taken along side developments already occurring in the market place will grow the supply side further. What we are aiming to achieve is a virtuous spiral, where increased supply results in higher take up which in turn, delivers greater investment in infrastructure.

The technology neutral marketing campaign is part of this and we will work with the business sector and commercial partners to ensure maximum take up of the available services."

"Connecting Scotland – Our Broadband Future" was launched in August, 2001

The Scottish Broadband Website was launched at the end of November 2002. It can be accessed at;


Western Isles, Fixed Wireless Trial, is one of a number of trials of alternative delivery mechanisms. The project is currently at the procurement stage and has the potential to extend broadband access to the public sector and business right across the region.

Launched in June 2002, the Powerline Carrier Trials in Crieff and Campbeltown are the first in Scotland to use electricity power networks to deliver broadband communications.

The first phase of project ATLAS is to set up a virtual telecoms trading exchange (TTE) in Scotland supported by a link (backhaul) to london. The target market for the TTE will be large corporates and Internet Service Prodivers. Phase II aims to link up a series of business parks around the country and will spread the benefits of ATLAS more widely.

Two Pathfinder projects, one in the Highlands and Islands, the other in the South of Scotland, were set up in the Autumn of 2001. The projects seek to exploit the potential of the public sectors aggregated demand for higher bandwidth connectivity to lever in major investment. The first stage of the formal procurement process is the publication of the Contract Notices inviting expressions of interest. These were published in November 02.

Information Per BT
Average Cost Of Upgrading Local Exchange - £250,000

High speed services available at call centres in Thurso, Alness and Fort William.

Scotland has 9% of UK population but 20% of the exchanges.

BT wants a return on investment

As at 1 July 2002 1115 exchanges converted in areas taking into account community benefits to schools and colleges and commercial viability for BT.  66% of UK homes and 73% of current Internet users.

Past and present Internet usage is used to help decide areas to go into.

BT is providing 11,000 new broadband installations a week.

Registration levels will be used to help determine where to upgrade exchanges.

28 November 2002
Going Up
Sign Ups Wick 66   Thurso 106
Have you signed up yet????
BT Broadband site

17 November 2002
Sign Ups Moving Slowly
59 in Wick area and 102 in Thurso
All of you who have signed up will need to get at least three others to do the same or we will never get there.   You can do it!!!!!

9 October 2002
Signs Ups For Interest In Broadband Still Too Low
The number of people signing up for more information and to say they are interested in Broadband is presently way below what BT wants to begin looking at upgrading exchanges in Thurso.  Only 44 people in the Wick exchange and 71 in the Thurso exchange have so far signed up as interested.  If you are interested in getting more information you can help get things moving by signing up for more information at the

18 September 2002
Caithness Is A Long Way From Broadband Numbers On BT Sign Up Web Site

Given that BT are asking for 400 people to register for Broadband Internet access in each exchange area before they will upgrade the local exchange things are not looking hopeful at present.  Only 31 people in the Wick and 49 in Thurso exchange areas have so far singed up to show they are interested.  As Broadband would mean access up to 10 times faster the benefits are huge.  Not only in getting your favourite web sites without all the waiting but also to opening up new business opportunities.  If you still have not signed up to register your interest then go to  http://
www.bt.com/broadband   369 more in Wick and 351 in Thurso. 
Imagine if you all had to sign up in blocks of 400 for other services would we ever have had water, electricity of the phone.   Would we even have postage stamps.   Any ideas anyone........

18 September 2002
Trials For New Broadband Technology
Organisers of a pilot project in the Highlands to trial new technology that gives up to ten times faster access to the internet, are looking for business and private sector users of the internet to take part.  The trials, beginning next month for a six-month period, are to take place at Drumnadrochit and Muir of Ord under a partnership project involving Highlands and Islands Enterprise, BT and Inverness-based internet service provider, Scotnet.

20 August 2002
The Digital Divide - Channel Four News

Channel Four News highlighted the problem of the digital divide for many areas and it was not just rural areas who were moaning.  with BT still saying they had to consider the profits and the government seemingly content with the expansion in many parts of the country where they say 20,000 new customers a week are hooking up to Broadband.  But the investment by government in the UK at about £30 million is the lowest in the G8 countries.   France and Germany are already in the one billion pounds category.  For all the speeches about being wired up by 2005 it looks as if only some parts of the UK will have access.  Even web developers in towns might not have access for one reason or another putting them at a disadvantage compared to other places.

6 August 2002
As many of you will know the issues surrounding Broadband services for Internet access continue to be a sore point in rural areas.

Local MP John Thurso Gets Involved
Now John Thurso has also decided to get involved and he has written an open letter to constituents asking for their help by emailing him about their need for broadband.  BT is offering a registration service online.  This just means you are interested and does not commit you to anything.  So get going and register...


Here is the letter from John Thurso to constituents -

Dear Constituent,

High-speed Internet access, commercially referred to as broadband, gives an immense competitive advantage to any business which can access this new technology.

The Government currently intends to allow the roll-out of broadband to be dictated by market forces. This will inevitably mean that remote areas such as our own in the North Highlands will be last on the list.

I am therefore this week launching a campaign, first to bring home to Government that investment in broadband for remote areas is a necessity in order to avoid job losses and to promote social inclusion, and secondly to persuade the main providers such as BT not to discriminate against the North.

The Chairman of BT has recently advised me that they are launching an on-line registration system specifically to encourage individual consumers and businesses to register their interest in a broadband service in their area.

It is vital that every business and individual registers their interest NOW www.bt.com/broadband/

In order to help me persuade the Government of our case for broadband, please email me at thursoj@parliament.uk with your support and please indicate in your email whether you have registered an interest with BT.

Broadband offers businesses and self-employed in the Highlands the potential to compete on equal terms worldwide. At a stroke, it removes many of the barriers facing remote rural locations and offers all the advantages to come to the fore. Conversely, as broadband roll-out continues apace in other countries and more populated parts of the UK, the lack of this technology in the North will be increasingly felt, ultimately making our firms uncompetitive.

I do hope that you will both register with BT and send me your support to help reinforce my approach to Government.

With very kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

New Broadband section 6 August 2002
Moved into our news section as we think this will be a growing issue over coming months and links will be made from our monthly news sections.

Broadband Poll On Caithness.org         Debate the Issue On Caithness.org

Do You Want Broadband Access To The Internet? 15 March 2002
The arguments are raging on the Message board about this issue and it is more important than many people realise for the future of communications and jobs in the Highlands.  What is mainly required is for the exchanges to be enabled to take this new service.  Web sites are now striving to get BT to take notice of the demand already there.  You can now register to say you are interested and it will help to guage the level of demand if you go to the web sites listed here and register your interest in this type of service.  If you are not sure what it is all about go to our Message board and Read under  "to those of you who haven't got dsl listen up"  then go to these web sites and register http://www.broadbandscotland.net or read an article about it at http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/24389.html  British Telecom have said they will look seriously at the problem if there is sufficient interest......... over to you to tell them you want faster connections and not be left behind in this.