Nevis Range banks on BT faster broadband promise
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.’