A regular Gurnite attended the Superfast Broadband – benefits and uses session at the Digital Showcase held in the Community Centre today, hoping to find out information on why some places in the town aren’t able to access the superfast broadband apparently available in Nairn. Unfortunately, the person giving the presentation was standing in for someone who was unable to attend, she did well but wasn’t in the position to give any answers on the access issue. A brief discussion took place amongst the attendees with some surprise over the lack of availability. Someone from HIE outlined their Superfast Broadband Project, but it was clear that this would not supply a solution for Nairn in the short term and that their project was different to the current BT roll out. A suggestion was made that it might be worth talking to the BT representatives in the main hall. They were tracked down but, as they quickly ascertained, their department of BT had nothing to do with the issue and they pointed in the direction of the Bus Station car park where a BT OpenReach contingent was sitting in a van.
BT Openreach is the subsidiary which deals with the management of local access networks, the infrastructure that delivers the service to homes and businesses. The question was put to the contingent of why the High Street was not included in their much vaunted broadband improvement? The reply centred around the fact that Nairn has 13 cabinets but only 9 have been upgraded at the moment as it is not viable to have all cabinets done at the same time, the areas which will give the best return of investment and likely demand for the offer,. So, although the exchange has been enabled and some parts of Nairn may now have access to Superfast broadband, other parts have missed out - including the High Street area which is yards away from the exchange. It’s puzzling as two of the main places where business are located in Nairn, the High Street and Balmakeith Business Park, places where you would think would be of high priority from a commercial aspect, have no access to the new offering. Still, it seems to be down to the cabinet rather than the exchange.
A suggestion was given by the BT Openreach representative that future upgrades might be included in the HIE project and it would be worth approaching the HIE people but, given that HIE are in the early stages of getting their separate project off the ground, is this a case of BT Openreach passing the buck onto another organisation? Knowing the merry-go-round and timescales which result from multi agencies involvement there could be a long wait.
So, did the Gurnite get a useful answer to their question? It would look like they got the standard corporate response and, having done a quick check on the Internet, it would appear that the situation happening in Nairn is not unusual and seems to be par for the course, in which case, the regular Gurnite will not be holding their breath that the much acclaimed Superfast broadband will cover the whole of Nairn any time soon.