Member Update 2nd April 2021

Our PR campaign to call for the early release of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme Interim vouchers generated over 220 items of coverage, from Page 3 of The Times, to featuring on London Evening Standard’s Tech & Science daily podcast and appearing on the 6 o’clock STV news. Our story reached over 11 million people. The campaign was valued in the region of £425K-£1.2M.

Thank you to everyone who showed support for the campaign by sharing it online. Communities outside of Finderne shared it too. It brought us together to push for better.

We have since met with MSP’s Paul Wheelhouse and Richard Lochhead and other Scottish Government officials to push for better and flexibility on the release of interim vouchers. Here is what we have been told: “…as both interim and main vouchers meet our policy commitment to provide access to super fast broadband by the end 2021, we are not proposing any changes at this stage”. We have however always said we will keep the scheme under review. We are still told that the full picture for the delivery of Lot 1 will be known and released in ‘summer’.

As of 16th March, 155 properties in Finderne qualify for interim vouchers. The list of properties is being updated everyday so we encourage you all to check the status of your households at the link below.

Meanwhile, we are exploring how FDT may help residents to link with Internet Service Providers to use their vouchers to get a better connection once funding is made available and as always, will keep in touch as things develop.

If you have any questions, please get in touch via the link at the bottom of this email.

Check your postcode here.

Member Update 11th March 2021

On the 8th March, we set a challenge for MSP Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, to work from a remote office we set up in Finderne for a day to experience first hand the realities of what our community face in work and in home schooling children. We know only too well that you can have everything you need for a workplace or home office – but in 2021 it’s worthless without a functioning broadband connection.

We had asked the Minister to consider changing the implementation policy on the R100 interim vouchers so that they can be released immediately without impacting eligibility for R100 or the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme in December 2020. After two months, we finally received what amounted to a patronising lecture about the history of the R100 programme – something we are all very aware of.

So far, our campaign has made page 3 of The Times and featured in The Independent. We’ve also spoken on MFR radio and filmed with STV. The campaign has gone viral and coverage keeps on coming in and we would ask all Finderne community members to support by sharing the campaign online –

We hope that our efforts will help drive change. Ideally, this will be the immediate release of the interim vouchers to provide financial support to Finderne residents to find better temporary solutions for fast connectivity.

We’ll share with you a full report at the end of the campaign.