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Isle of Bute businesses welcome Scottish fibre broadband rollout

Wednesday, August 19th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

The arrival of superfast fibre broadband on the Isle of Bute has provided a “tremendous opportunity” for businesses on the Scottish island, according to project bosses.

Fibre became available on the island last month, with more than 2,700 homes and businesses in its main town Rothesay and nearby Ardbeg able to order it.

The rollout will continue in the town over the coming months and will spread to villages across Bute next year.

One company to benefit from the arrival of superfast speeds is textiles firm Bute Fabrics, which designs and manufactures wool fabrics for the auditoria, hospitality and contract upholstery markets.

Marketing manager Fiona Hardie (pictured) said: “Good connectivity is important to most businesses today.

"It will open up opportunities to ensure faster communications with our customers, improve access for our field sales staff through their virtual private networks, as well as more efficient delivery of back-shop functions like banking.

“It’ll help streamline our processes. We’ll be able to email CAD designs of fabrics in development to our clients for their review and comment.

“This’ll impact hugely on the speed of our customer interaction on bespoke design development.”

The rollout in Argyll and Bute is part of a three-year £146m rollout funded by the Scottish Government, the UK Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and BT, with engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, delivering the project on the ground.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led in the region by HIE, is bringing faster broadband to thousands of homes and businesses which could not be reached by the private sector’s commercial fibre broadband programme.

'Over land and sea'

Bute Fabrics welcomed Digital Scotland partners Stuart Robertson, HIE’s director of digital, Robert Thorburn, BT’s programme manager, and Cllr Len Scoullar, Argyll and Bute Council’s Provost, who lives on Bute, to its Rothesay mill.

Mr Robertson said: “It was great to visit Bute Fabrics to see their enthusiasm to make the most of the faster broadband delivered through the project.

“The £146m project will bring fibre-based services to 84% of Highlands and Islands premises by the end of next year.

“It’s an important step in developing a network which we can build upon in the future – delivering more and reaching further.

The Digital Scotland team also gave an update on the fibre programme to the Bute and Cowal Community Planning Group (BCCPG).

Cllr Scoullar said: “The rollout of this exciting initiative will provide a tremendous opportunity for existing and potential business enterprise on Bute.

“The more communities in Argyll and Bute to be reached through superfast broadband the better, as this builds on the council’s aim to develop infrastructure which provides sustainable growth.”

BT’s Robert Thorburn added: “Momentum is building on what is a challenging, but hugely exciting engineering project to bring fibre broadband to the majority of Argyll and Bute.

“Bute is the first island across Argyll to benefit from our new fibre broadband network, which has been built over land and sea.

“The first households and businesses in Rothesay, Ardbeg and Craigmore are now able to place an order directly as a result of this work.

“With the first services already available in places like Dunoon, Campbeltown and Oban, we will see the rollout continue, reaching further to cover many towns and villages across Argyll in the next 18 months.”

Fibre broadband is now available to order in parts of Campbeltown, Cardross, Dalmally, Lochgilphead, Helensburgh, Innellan, Oban, Rothesay and Taynuilt. Work has started in Arrochar, Balvicar, Benderloch, Connel, Craignure, and Kilmelford.

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