Aberdeenshire businesswoman to lead Scotland’s gigabit network build

Rosanne Moreland takes the reins as Openreach’s Aberdeen upgrade gets under way

Rosanne Moreland H&S

Openreach has appointed Aberdeenshire businesswoman Rosanne Moreland to lead its large-scale commercial build of ultra-reliable full fibre broadband in Scotland.

Rosanne, who lives outside Ellon, will be programme director for the multi-million pound infrastructure build to replace the nation’s copper network with new gigabit-capable full fibre.

Having completed detailed surveys, engineers have just started the build in the Ashgrove exchange area of Aberdeen, which includes parts of residential areas like Sheddocksley, Mastrick, Northfield, Stockethill and Middlefield. Work on the first main fibre route is now complete.

They expect to bring fibre to the front doors of thousands of local properties by the end of March 2021, with the first residents able to order the new services this summer.

Rosanne will also be responsible for the rollout of full fibre in parts of Greater Glasgow; Kilmarnock, Ayr and Stanecastle in Ayrshire; Edinburgh; and Bathgate, Broxburn and Whitburn in West Lothian. Openreach is currently considering locations for further investment in Scotland.

Internet traffic carried across Openreach’s Scottish network has increased by 70 per cent during the weeks of the lockdown, with the business recording record levels of internet traffic in recent weeks.

Openreach recently urged the Scottish Government to prioritise investment in digital connectivity over more traditional forms of infrastructure, like the roads network, as part of its Covid-19 recovery.

Rosanne Moreland said: “Connectivity has never been more important to Scotland and it’s a privilege to be one of the people leading the nation’s journey from copper to fibre. Gigabit broadband will enable rapid changes in vital services like digital health and education – it will be vital in in helping to rebuild and grow the economy.

“I’m hugely excited about leading such a significant civil infrastructure project for Scotland. The opportunity to do something in my homeland has a huge meaning for me, and a significant portion of our build will be in harder-to-reach areas. But to really turbocharge the build, we’ll need better and faster planning, access and roadworks rules.”

Rosanne added: “We already provide extensive superfast and ultrafast services in Aberdeen but full fibre is the only technology to be fully future-proofed to meet the city’s data demands in the future. It’s more reliable and resilient, with fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds.

“We’re working closely with Aberdeen City Council on the build here and, while some roadworks will be necessary, we’re using our existing network of poles and underground ducts to install fibre cables where possible in a bid to keep disruption to a minimum.

“Whatever the technology, people using the Openreach network have access to a wide range of service providers, bringing retail competition which means real choice.”

Rosanne, a former pupil of Dyce Academy, has 20 years of experience in the telecommunications sector, remaining a resident of Aberdeenshire while travelling extensively on business across the UK, US and India. Before joining Openreach to head up UK business improvement, she held senior UK management roles in BT customer service operations, including leading 11 contact centres in the UK and India, with 1000 employees and an annual budget of £21m.

Openreach recently raised its UK target for full fibre connections to 4.5 million premises by the end of March 2021, with an ambition to reach 20 million homes and businesses across the country by the mid-2020s - assuming the right investment conditions are in place. This short video explains what full fibre technology is and you can find out more about our Fibre First programme here.


Ten fantastic full fibre facts:

  1. Connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre broadband by 2025 would create a £4.5 billion boost to the nation’s economy.
  2. Fibre optics are strands of glass around one tenth the thickness of a human hair. They transmit data using light signals.
  3. A single strand of fibre can provide enough capacity to serve up to 32 individual properties with Gigabit speeds.
  4. Pure fibre optic broadband can run at speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1000Mbps) – that’s more than 15 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed. You can download a two-hour HD film in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. And video gamers could download a 5-gigabyte virtual reality (VR) game in 1.7 minutes, instead of waiting half an hour.
  5. More people getting online at the same time is easier too – a family of four can all stream ultra HD or 4k quality video simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.
  6. Full fibre is more reliable than traditional copper connections. A full fibre broadband signal isn’t affected by external interference whereas copper can be impacted by outside electrical signals – including electric fences and even bad weather! One recent report stated ‘that ‘full fibre’ is 70%-80% more reliable than copper resulting in lower fault rates.’
  7. A fibre optic cable can send a signal over 120 miles without any real loss of quality. Traditional copper cables can lose signal at around one mile.
  8. Full fibre is better for the environment – the amount of electricity used to power fibre is significantly less than needed for copper cables. Better connectivity also enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting. Research suggests fibering up the whole of the UK could save 300 million commuting trips – reducing carbon emissions by 360,000 tonnes.
  9. Full fibre can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, full fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space.
  10. Full fibre broadband will be crucial in supporting plans to give NHS patients access to ‘virtual clinics’ where patients who don’t physically need to come hospital can get a video consultation with their doctor. It can also allow hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds. For example, medical staff can download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes.