Strathspey’s Community

It is with regret we announce the end of the partnership between StrathspeyNow and our project’s internet service provider. As publicised since Day 1, a small percentage of the tariff paid by the StrathspeyNow network’s customers was designed to help fund community benefit in the form of our managed, integrated digital communication – enabling us to support local businesses, community groups, cultural and tourism projects, education and training providers, environmental initiatives as well as health and social care partnerships … all in the knowledge that our work helps to add to the area’s economic sustainability and wellbeing.

It took us time: we began work back in 2017 when Grantown-on-Spey missed out on funding through the Scottish Government’s Digital Towns Programme. We helped to deliver that project and maintained contact with the Grantown Society who so wished for our help and support to improve digital engagement in the area.

In 2019, realising an opportunity to partner with an internet service provider (ISP) with whom we were working elsewhere, we explored the idea of a wireless network to help connect properties across Strathspey. In 2020, we invited registrations from interested home and business owners. Covid, lockdowns, restrictions, red tape and more delayed us but we were thrilled when the first customers were connected at the end of 2022.

Advocates …

We were and remain immensely proud to deliver transformational broadband and, over the next year, we – and our customers acting as true advocates – helped to grow the network with homes and businesses connected across more than 50 square miles of Strathspey.

Sadly, although we launched with ‘community benefit’ as our mantra, we have to face commercial reality. Despite our helping to research, design, launch, market and build what we believe to be Scotland’s largest community-benefit broadband network, the project’s ISP, Transmit Air, no longer share our vision and have failed to support us in line with what was promised. As a result, we have no option but to cut ties – with Transmit Air and their sister company, Rapier Systems.

What happens now?

We would like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to all who showed interest from the outset, who signed-up and have since been connected.

It is our understanding that Transmit Air will continue to deliver the network: any communication regarding the network, service provision and contracts – whether ongoing or new – is now down to them alone.

That said, it is only right that we make it clear they – and therefore, by default the network’s customers – will no longer be making any contribution to our community-benefit support work.

We are issuing this statement to keep all up to speed. We are invested in Strathspey. We have friends, family and colleagues who live and work across the area – some even connected to the network we helped to launch.

As a result of the way circumstances have panned out, we have not been able to deliver in the way we would have liked. That said, we are proud that we have built a combined digital audience that is equal to 75% of the area’s population – and the content we have published and shared on our Blog has already reached readers in more than 35 countries. None of that would have been possible without your support and enthusiasm.

We want to give our assurance that we will do our very best to continue to deliver benefits in support of communities across the area.

We all learn lessons: we are now back to the drawing board to research funding streams – funding that will be under our own control and no longer rely on third parties.

Thank you for reading.