Ne­vis Range banks on BT faster broad­band prom­ise

The Oban Times - - News - KATIE CARABINE kcara­bine@oban­times.co.uk

HIGH- SPEED broad­band is to be in­stalled at Ne­vis Range fol­low­ing threats from Union Cy­cliste In­ter­na­tionale (UCI) it would no longer hold the Moun­tain Bike World Cup at the moun­tain re­sort un­less the con­nec­tion was im­proved.

The UCI is­sued an ul­ti­ma­tum fol­low­ing the 2015 World Cup week­end when it be­came clear ac­tion was needed.

Mike Jar­dine, joint founder and di­rec­tor of Rare Man­age­ment, which or­gan­ises the event, said the band­width re­quire­ment for the me­dia was not be­ing met, es­pe­cially for cop­ing with large im­age files and the growth of video files. Last year, BT com­pleted the first of two phases to im­prove the ser­vice to Ne­vis Range – in­stalling fi­bre op­tic ca­bling as far as Ben Ne­vis Auc­tion Mart.

Phase two is sched­uled to take place within the next cou­ple of weeks and will see the ca­bling ex­tended to reach the base sta­tion at Ne­vis Range and an an­tenna to con­nect the top gon­dola sta­tion re­placed.

Ne­vis Range man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter MacFar­lane said: ‘Ne­vis Range has been try­ing to get high-speed broad­band in­stalled for more than two years.

‘There is a de­mand from the UCI for bet­ter, faster broad­band for the Moun­tain Bike World Cup and it is one of the many cri­te­ria we need to meet to main­tain the con­tin­ued suc­cess of the event. Ne­vis Range also con­tin­ues to grow as a busi­ness and, to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of all our cus­tomers, it is very im­por­tant we of­fer the best con­nec­tiv­ity avail­able.

‘BT is re­spond­ing to many months of ne­go­ti­a­tions from us and last year com­pleted phase one in time for the World Cup and at the mo­ment are work­ing on phase two, which should be com­pleted in the next two weeks.

‘Through­out th­ese ne­go­ti­a­tions, we have had sup­port from many dif­fer­ent par­ties – our MP, MSP, High­land Coun­cil, HIE and Event Scot­land.’

Mr Jar­dine said: ‘The broad­band was shock­ing. Now it’s bet­ter, and it should be great for this year thanks to the sup­port and in­put of quite a lot of peo­ple.’

He added that sched­ul­ing the work now ‘gives us time to jump and shout about it if it doesn’t hap­pen’ be­fore the world cup week­end in June.

A BT spokesper­son said: ‘Ne­vis Range is con­nected to the Fort Wil­liam ex­change which was up­graded by BT in 2014. While the iso­lated na­ture of Ne­vis Range means stan­dard fi­bre broad­band is not avail­able, due to the dis­tance of the site from the near­est fi­bre cab­i­net, ded­i­cated busi­ness prod­ucts are avail­able to all busi­nesses to pro­vide high­speed broad­band con­nec­tions. Ne­vis Range has placed an or­der for a busi­ness-grade cir­cuit pro­vid­ing su­per­fast speeds which we ex­pect to com­plete in the next few weeks.’

Mr Jar­dine said: ‘We want to de­liver the best pos­si­ble ser­vice, and it’s not just for the me­dia – so­cial me­dia is such a big part of it now. The next big goal for us is to make changes to the track, to add new sec­tions and keep it in­ter­est­ing for spec­ta­tors and com­peti­tors.’

Mr MacFar­lane added: ‘Faster broad­band would mean much bet­ter faster con­nec­tiv­ity for our cus­tomers, giv­ing them bet­ter, faster ac­cess to so­cial me­dia.

‘It would make our card ma­chines faster, speed­ing up queues, and im­prove our phone sys­tem and our tick­et­ing sys­tem. All th­ese rea­sons also ap­ply to the world cup when me­dia de­mands are much higher than nor­mal.’

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