Scotland's Full Fibre Charter Forum minutes: September 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 14 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade
  • JD Olliero, Head of Business Development, Axione
  • Neil Conaghan, Chief Executive Officer, Borderlink/GoFibre
  • Jonathan Swarbrick, Head of Public Affairs, CityFibre
  • Steven Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Gigaloch
  • John McCabe, Head of Business Development, Hyperoptic 
  • Gavin Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer, Lothian Broadband Networks Ltd
  • Graeme Heron, Director of Dynamics, Insights and Governance, Fibre Network Delivery, Openreach
  • Colin Brown, Director of Network Expansion for Scotland, Northern Ireland and North East, Virgin Media O2
  • Paul Mullan, Regional Affairs Manager (North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland), Virgin Media O2


  • Greg Whitton, Director, Cloudnet 


  • Glenn Preston, Scotland Director, Ofcom
  • Kevin Hamilton, Scottish Road Works Commissioner

In attendance

  • Robbie McGhee, Deputy Director, Digital Connectivity Division, Digital Directorate
  • John Fagan, Digital Connectivity Policy, Digital Directorate
  • Kyle Taggart, Digital Connectivity Policy, Digital Directorate
  • Neil Wilson, Digital Connectivity Stakeholder Engagement, Digital Directorate
  • Duncan Nisbet, R100 Stakeholder Director, Digital Directorate 
  • Niamh Cannon, Policy, Digital Connectivity, Digital Directorate
  • Kat Quane, Road Works Policy, Transport Scotland
  • Ainsleigh Brown, Road Works Policy, Transport Scotland

Items and actions


  • welcome and introductions 
  • assessing progress since the 2022 forum
  • reserved and devolved areas - how we can best align in Scotland?
  • innovation in telecoms
  • cost of living
  • Project Gigabit update
  • closing remarks

Meeting summary

This was the second meeting of Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter Ministerial Forum. Since the forum met for the first time in May 2022, full fibre coverage in Scotland has grown from 35% to 45%, an increase of approximately 275,000 homes and businesses. The Minister noted with appreciation the industry’s role in driving up Scotland’s full fibre coverage and thanked Full Fibre Charter signatories for their continued commitment to enhancing Scotland’s digital environment.

This second meeting of the forum provided an opportunity for the Minister and Charter signatories to reflect on developments in the telecoms industry since the previous forum, to discuss key issues affecting full fibre deployment in Scotland and develop collective actions to ensure rollout of full fibre infrastructure continues at pace.

Key issues raised by Full Fibre Charter signatories:

  • exploring better working with local authorities, including standardisation of documentation and processes to speed up deployment
  • the impact of the UK Government’s Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill in Scotland
  • what can be done to support improved take up of full fibre services where there is availability
  • how telecoms operators have responded to the cost of living crisis, including future planning, investment and impacts on the retail market
  • challenges deploying fibre in multi-dwelling units (MDUs), including dealing with property factors and absentee landlords
  • innovative approaches to fibre deployment in Scotland, and where infrastructure acts as a key enabler of innovation in the wider economy
  • Project Gigabit in Scotland


  • SG and signatories to collectively consider how better communication around wayleaves can be taken forward, including promotion of the benefits of full fibre and standardisation of documentation and processes, to support access to MDUs and granting of wayleaves
  • signatories to provide examples to SG of difficulties relating to deployment in MDUs – specifically when issues relate to absentee landlords or catenary cabling 
  • SG and signatories to work together to raise awareness of social tariffs – beginning with sharing of current SG activity in this area with signatories 
  • Openreach to evaluate communications with wider industry on planned exchange closers
  • SG and signatories to work together to better capture case studies of innovation – both in terms of deployment, but also as examples of full fibre connectivity acting as an enabler of innovation
  • SG to continue to raise awareness and lobby the UK Government on issues raised as appropriate, such as on the UK Government’s PSTI Bill and wayleaves; complexity of rural build in Scotland; Project Gigabit

Next meeting 

Summer 2024 – with regular engagement between industry and officials continuing throughout the year.

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