Scotland's Full Fibre Charter: Lothian Broadband Networks Limited case study

Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter signatory Lothian Broadband Networks Limited's case study on Connecting East Lothian.

Lothian Broadband Networks Limited (Lothian Broadband) was formed in 2015 with a mission to bring ultrafast connectivity to parts of Scotland with no or poor digital connectivity. 

In May 2022, Lothian Broadband announced that they had exceeded two thousand active customers for the first time across their fibre and fixed wireless broadband networks in Scotland. 

Lothian Broadband is one of our more recent signatories to the Charter having signed up in April 2022 along with Borderlink, Cloudnet, Hyperoptic and Virgin Media O2. Axione, CityFibre and Openreach signed in December 2020.

Case Study: Connecting East Lothian 

In 2021, Lothian Broadband undertook a challenging full fibre build project in Pencaitland, a village of 727 premises in East Lothian, successfully connecting over 99% of premises to ultrafast broadband. 

Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter calls on signatories such as Lothian Broadband to maximise full fibre coverage across Scotland by extending build further into rural areas.

Working with the community to overcome engineering challenges

To successfully install their network in Pencaitland, Lothian Broadband had to overcome a series of engineering challenges due to the road infrastructure of the village.

At the centre of Pencaitland there is a well-used single-track bridge, crossed by all the local and school bus routes. At the same time, the village consists mostly of very narrow footways, with some homes lacking any footways at all.

To overcome these challenges, Lothian Broadband worked within the community to develop a roll-out plan designed to minimise local disruption whilst ensuring the network would still be delivered on schedule.

For areas requiring complex traffic management, digs were scheduled for early mornings at the weekends and other times of low traffic, keeping disruption to a minimum. Taking into account the existing road network, Lothian Broadband adopted a narrow trench self-dig approach to the build, utilising existing underground access wherever possible. 

Lothian Broadband also provided 900mbps connections free of charge to Pencaitland’s community buildings, and engaged with households on an individual basis around the placement of toby boxes – part of the underground infrastructure used in the process - to ensure a community-focused approach to their network build. 

Through Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter, signatories such as Lothian Broadband are prioritising bringing full fibre broadband to areas of no or poor digital connectivity, resulting in future-proofed broadband infrastructure which benefits local communities across Scotland. 

Ralph Averbuch, Chair of Pencaitland Community Council said: 

“Lothian Broadband has been a breath of fresh air since it announced plans to roll out FTTP (fibre to the premises) in Pencaitland at the end of 2021.

Commitments to quickly roll out local infrastructure were made and met in short order. Within months of the announcement ultrafast fibre connections began to roll out across the village. It has been nothing short of transformational for residents that need reliable and fast service.”

Brian Small, Pencaitland resident: 

“As a resident of a somewhat remote village in East Lothian I really appreciate what Lothian Broadband have done for me and the rest of the community here. Having access to high-speed fibre makes us feel less remote.

It is also noteworthy to mention that Lothian Broadband delivered to their own committed installation timeline.” 

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