Better broadband banishes bandwidth blues

Gigabit-capable full fibre connection transforms business operations

Dave Arcari live stream

A professional musician has gone from climbing the banks of Loch Lomond to find a mobile signal to streaming online shows from his garden studio – after ultrafast broadband arrived in Balmaha. 

Openreach installed a full fibre network in the picturesque village as part of its work with the Scottish Government, giving around 120 local homes and businesses access to some of the fastest, most reliable broadband anywhere in the UK. To date, one in two households has ordered the new technology.

One of the residents to benefit, local blues musician Dave Arcari, this week described the network as “a lifeline” which has helped his business to survive the pandemic.

In the early days of the pandemic, Arcari had to rely on the goodwill of nearby commercial premises to keep his business running. But with gigabit-capable full fibre he can now comfortably operate ticketed streaming shows online from the studio in his garden.

Full fibre broadband provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity, with fewer faults, more predictable, consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands. 

Openreach is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in full fibre networks for around 300 cities, towns and villages across Scotland, as well as working with the Scottish Government on its Reaching 100% programme to bring superfast services to the very hardest-to-reach properties.

Dave Arcari said: “When the pandemic hit, every tour I had planned was cancelled and the poor-quality internet service was stopping me harnessing the potential income that comes with live-streamed online gigs. The connection was so bad I was having to leave videos uploading for the whole night or traipsing a mile and a half up the banks of Loch Lomond to the only spot with three bars of 4G. Carrying all my equipment, instruments and umbrellas on bad days all that way was a struggle.

“The new service Openreach has now put in place, working with the Scottish Government, is nothing short of a gamechanger for my business. It’s cheaper, better, faster for livestreaming and uploading videos and has been an absolute lifeline. This broadband upgrade has really turned things around for the whole area and is great news for the rural economy as a whole.”

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland partnership director, said: “We’re really pleased to be able make such a difference to the daily operations and activities of local people. And it’s great to hear that having access to better broadband has put Dave’s music business back on track.

“Full fibre is truly transformative for rural communities and, as the new network expands, there’s huge potential to let more and more people start up and run their businesses from any part of Scotland.

“We know that connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre broadband would result in multi-billion pound economic boost. We want to make sure that progress is evenly spread and that people in all corners of the country can work from home efficiently and build opportunities on their doorstep.”