PEOPLE power has unexpectedly triumphed north of the M80 after BT agreed to bring superfast broadband to hundreds of local homes by reinstating two crucial servers in Carrickstone and Smithstone.
Last month hopes were dashed when North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Government stated that the area would not be included in a £700,000 funding package to improve internet provision.
This had followed an earlier blow last November when BT bosses said that the area would not be upgraded – but company bosses have had a rethink after locals succeeded in persuading them.
Community leaders finally got the result they wanted following a meeting with BT which had been arranged by Scottish National Party councillor Alan Masterton, after telecom bosses said that two defunct cabinets would be introduced in the area as part of a giant UK wide upgrade.
A BT spokesman confirmed: “These cabinets have since undergone a further review which has put them back into our schedule. At the moment we can’t provide an exact date for when these cabinets will be deployed, as there is a considerable amount of work still to be carried out to provide the power to the cabinets,’’ he added.
Councillor Masterton said: “I am delighted. A large part of these cabinets being back on this upgrade list is down to the strength and organisation of the local campaigns in these two areas – the two communities should be rightly proud of their achievements.”
Meanwhile Councillor Alan O’Brien said: “This fantastic result is a testament to what can be achieved when a community and it’s elected representatives work together as a team. Even when things weren’t looking great after the council ommited them from it’s upgrade plans no one gave up .
“The BT meeting was very much a last throw of the dice. I wasn’t very confident So this was a very plesant surprise indeed,’’ he added.
Mike Ogden of Craigmarloch Community Council said: “Beforehand, I know that people have felt they were banging their heads off a brick wall and if anyone got a response from BT it was always negative. I do believe that this co-ordinated campaign obtained the result that is a superb demonstration of people power and excellent community spirit,’’ he added.
Meanwhile MSP Mark Griffin said: “I am pleased that BT has reconsidered its position. I was concerned in November when I heard upgrades were not going ahead and made representations on behalf of local people who contacted me.’’