Having been successful with a bid to the Rural Broadband Challenge Fund to build a fast-speed wireless broadband network in part of its area, called ClacksMax, the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER Local Action Group was keen to ensure that businesses and communities were able to maximise the benefits of fast-speed broadband. It was felt that awareness raising activity and learning needed to take place in parallel to the ‘infrastructure’, specifically on the benefits of braodband. A secondary objective was to understand how countries larger than Scotland, but with comparable populations could build broadband networks that were the envy of Europe.
To meet this objective, LEADER funding was used to design a study tour to explore how communities, charities, enterprises and public sector bodies can establish local superfast broadband provision and make use of superfast broadband. Additional funding was secured from the Department of Culture and Media at the UK Government.
Key outcomes of the visit was the creation of ‘broadband champions’ in the Forth Valley, and the production of two short video productions, one on the learning of the visit (specific to the Forth Valley) and one on the wider benefits of next generation broadband to business, particularly SMEs. The objective was to circulate these awareness raising materials as widely as possible through the participants’ respective networks in the Forth Valley.