Affordable backhaul into remote rural areas has long been the killer for many rural broadband project, which tips a great project into the dark pit of unviability.
However, like everything else prices have been coming down in recent years and I was really suprised at a leased line quote we got from Fluidata recently. It seems TalkTalk business have extended their network into our area and the price is much lower than we were expecting. However, the proof of the pudding is when BT Openreach come to have a look at what excess construction charges will be levied.
We are planning a community wide broadband project in Applecross based a line of sight signal from Broadford, Skye. We have installed a pilot project enabling 8 connections which proves it works, and I've just submitted an application for funding to install it in the rest of the community (to Village SOS).
Good luck with the funding application!
Ah Backhaul! I'm very keen to find out what people are paying, as the sustainability of our network is very important. We're still at the "find the dark fibre" stage in the Southern Uplands, although a couple of Altnets have assured me that they could sort backhaul to either Glasgow or London for us.
C&W Worldwide are now looking carefully at how people can plug into their fibre network. They have provided us with details of fibre in the Scottish borders near Whitsome, for a project we are doing and are now working out some prices. Microwave links can reduce the cost early on for a project, but as customers get used to have a fast internet connection, we found the reliability can be an issue. This is partly down to supplying power to them on masts which are remote and weatherbeaten!
Hi Daniel, We think we're surrounded by fibre, but we know we're surrounded by wind turbines, which definitely affect mobile phone signals. We did think of using microwave as an interim step - get villages connected quickly while fibre being installed, perhaps as a free trial to show people the benefits of broadband - but haven't considered it as a long-term solution for the reason you mention. Reliability and sustainability are key for us, since we can fund this "one time", but keeping annual maintenance costs down is vital. We can't get terrestrial TV and nearly everyone reports having to have their satellite dish fixed at least once a year for the same reason... our weather/wind.
Simon James at Caleycom has some issues with windturbines at the moment - he may be able to clarify what impact they are having on microwave service. Also wind turbines are generally linked with fibre to send data - if you speak to the operators they may be able to provide you with some access to their fibre.