Scotland's Full Fibre Charter Forum minutes: May 2022

Minutes from Scotland's Full Fibre Charter Forum: May 2022


Attendees and apologies


  • Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy

  • Dominique Astier, Managing Director, Axione

  • Alex Cacciamani, Chief Executive Officer, Borderlink,

  • Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer, CityFibre

  • Greg Whitton, Director, Cloudnet

  • Dana Tobak, Chief Executive Officer, Hyperoptic

  • Gavin Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer, Lothian Broadband Networks Ltd

  • Graeme Heron, Director of Dynamics, Insights & Governance, Fibre Network Delivery, Openreach

  • Colin Brown, Director of Network Expansion for Scotland, Northern Ireland and North East, Virgin Media O2


  • Jean-Donan Olliero, Head of Business Development, Axione

  • Scott Walters, Chief Financial Officer and Public Sector Lead, Borderlink,

  • Domnhall Dodds, Senior Regulatory Advisor, CityFibre

  • Nikki Linklater, Director - Finance, Cloudnet

  • Martin Romer, Policy and Regulatory, Hyperoptic

  • Gareth Hughes, Director of Field Engineering, Lothian Broadband Networks Ltd

  • Grace O’Keeffe, Public Affairs Manager, Openreach

  • Paul Mullan, Regional Affairs Manager (North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland), Virgin Media O2

  • Kevin Hamilton, Scottish Roadworks Commissioner

  • Bob Downes, Member for Scotland, Ofcom Board (Non-Executive)

  • Glenn Preston, Scotland Director, Ofcom (Executive)

  • David Clarkson, Competition Policy Director, Ofcom (Executive)

In attendance

  • Geoff Huggins, Director Digital, Digital Directorate

  • Pippa Gardner, Head of Digital Connectivity Policy, Digital Directorate

  • John Fagan, Digital Connectivity Policy, Digital Directorate

  • Christine Hamilton-Rice, Digital Connectivity Policy, Digital Directorate

  • Neil Wilson, Digital Connectivity Stakeholder Engagement, Digital Directorate

  • Raymond Monaghan, Fair Work Policy, Fair Work, Employability and Skills Directorate

  • Ellie Munro, Deputy Private Secretary, Private Office

Items and actions


  • Introductions

  • Scottish Government priorities and areas of devolved powers

  • United Kingdom Government areas of power

  • Pledges 4 and 5 – matters related to industry supporting their workforce and working fairly

  • Next steps/ AOB

Introductory remarks

This meeting was the first meeting of Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter Ministerial Forum marking a significant milestone in the relationship between Scottish Government (SG) and commercial telecoms operators who are signatories to the Full Fibre Charter.

The main focus was on enabling the Cabinet Secretary to listen directly to industry’s thoughts on the digital environment in Scotland and what can be done to make it more attractive, with a view to fostering collaboration and developing actions that support and accelerate full fibre deployment in Scotland. Discussion covered areas both devolved to Scotland and reserved to the UK Government, culminating in fair work and workforce development matters.

Kevin Hamilton, the Scottish Roadworks Commissioner, and Bob Downes, Ofcom Board Member for Scotland, joined in a listening capacity to hear views and understand industry challenges.

Key areas raised by Full Fibre Charter signatories

  • opportunities to work with Scottish Local Authorities including sharing good practices

  • advertising and the misleading use of the term ‘full fibre’ is causing confusion in the market, adversely impacting the industry and investment

  • UK Government’s Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill and wayleave requirements disproportionately adversely affect deployment in Scotland due to Openreach’s pole network sited on private land much more prevalently than in England, negating access ordinarily available through Ofcom’s Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) remedy

  • difficulties in securing wayleaves from other bodies, particularly bulk wayleaves, and wayleaves for existing non-telecoms infrastructure which could enable fibre to be carried to remote locations with different needs where there is a lack of pole network

  • supporting the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) understanding and recognition of the complexity of rural build in Scotland is challenging, particularly the different issues faced compared to much of England. Understanding the criteria of success associated with BDUK’s schemes would foster greater success

  • labour supply and bringing those with necessary skills into the UK is a significant issue as a result of Brexit and UK Government requirements related to language tests, costs and visas

  • while several signatories operate or are building their own training programmes, training remains a challenge, with particular difficulties in ensuring provision of the necessary courses from agencies

  • additional areas of good practice relating to fair work and workforce development were highlighted, as well as wider innovation

Areas for SG consideration

In addition to general consideration of the issues highlighted above, specific suggestions included:

  • COSLA and Local Authorities – official engagement, interactions and engagement with the Full Fibre Charter Ministerial Forum, supporting the sharing and learning of good practice examples across Local Authorities

  • wayleaves and poles – potential actions, communications and awareness raising targeted at householders

  • labour market – communications and positive messaging targeted at job seekers to support talent attraction


  • signatories develop and provide case studies for SG to promote highlighting progress against Charter pledges and areas of good practice

  • SG to engage COSLA and/or Scottish Local Authorities, as appropriate, to support and enhance interactions between Local Authorities and industry

  • SG to raise awareness and lobby the UK Government on issues raised as appropriate; the UK Government’s PSTI Bill and wayleaves; complexity of build in Scotland; transparency of success criteria associated with BDUK schemes; and UK Government requirements impact the supply of labour to the UK 

  • SG to develop potential actions and responses on issues raised for next Full Fibre Charter Forum meeting

  • agree attendees for the next Forum – suggestions included COSLA and Scottish Water

Next meeting

May 2023 – Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter Ministerial Forum is to be arranged annually with regular engagement between industry and Officials throughout the year.

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