Bute Fabrics hails broadband business boost

BT programme manager Robert Thorburn, Bute councillor Len Scoullar, Bute Fabrics' marketing manager Fiona Hardie and Stuart Robertson from HIE pictured at the local company's Rothesay mill
BT programme manager Robert Thorburn, Bute councillor Len Scoullar, Bute Fabrics' marketing manager Fiona Hardie and Stuart Robertson from HIE pictured at the local company's Rothesay mill

One of Bute’s big business success stories says the arrival of superfast fibre broadband on the island will give a major boost to its operations.

With commercial interests in the USA, Scandinavia and Japan, contemporary fabric designer and manufacturer Bute Fabrics is now exploring how superfast broadband can speed up its connections with clients.

Last month, fibre services became available to the first homes and businesses in Rothesay. There will be more coverage for the town in the coming months, and the roll out will continue to many Bute villages next year.

Bute Fabrics welcomed Digital Scotland partners Stuart Robertson, Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s director of digital, and Robert Thorburn, BT’s programme manager, to its Rothesay mill. They were joined by Cllr Len Scoullar, Argyll and Bute Council’s Provost, who lives on Bute.

Fiona Hardie, Bute Fabrics marketing manager, commented: “We are delighted that we can now access fibre based broadband. With our IT team, we will now look carefully at the range of services available and how we make the most of the new opportunities.

“Good connectivity is important to most businesses today. It will open up opportunities to ensure faster communications with our customers, improve access for our field sales staff through their virtual private networks, as well as more efficient delivery of back-shop functions like banking.

“It’ll help streamline our processes. We’ll be able to email CAD designs of fabrics in development to our clients for their review and comment. This’ll impact hugely on the speed of our customer interaction on bespoke design development.”

HIE’s Stuart Robertson commented: “It was great to visit Bute Fabrics to see their enthusiasm to make the most of the faster broadband delivered through the project.

“The £146m project will bring fibre-based services to 84 per cent of Highlands and Islands premises by the end of next year. It’s an important step in developing a network which we can build upon in the future – delivering more and reaching further. The Rothesay team are vibrant and creative. It’s great that they will now be able to access the kind of technology they need as they reach customers around the world.”

The Digital Scotland team also provided an update on the fibre programme to the Bute and Cowal Community Planning Group (BCCPG).

Provost Scoullar said: “The rollout of this exciting initiative will provide a tremendous opportunity for existing and potential business enterprise on Bute. The more communities in Argyll and Bute to be reached through superfast broadband the better, as this builds on the council’s aim to develop infrastructure which provides sustainable growth.

“I would like to thank Bute Fabrics for their kind invitation to tour their premises and be shown how the new superfast broadband will assist their business, and I wish them well for the future.

“Personally, I too now have arranged to benefit from superfast broadband for both my business and private phone lines and internet.”

BT’s Robert Thorburn said: “Momentum is building on what is a challenging, but hugely exciting engineering project to bring fibre broadband to the majority of Argyll and Bute.

“Bute is the first island across Argyll to benefit from our new fibre broadband network, which has been built over land and sea The first households and businesses in Rothesay, Ardbeg and Craigmore are now able to place an order directly as a result of this work.

“With the first services already available in places like Dunoon, Campbeltown and Oban, we will see the roll-out continue, reaching further to cover many towns and villages across Argyll in the next 18 months.”

Fibre broadband is now available to order in parts of Campbeltown, Cardross, Dalmally, Lochgilphead, Helensburgh, Innellan, Oban, Rothesay and Taynuilt. Work has started in Arrochar, Balvicar, Benderloch, Connel, Craignure, and Kilmelford.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is bringing faster broadband to thousands of homes and businesses which could not be reached by the private sector’s commercial fibre broadband programme.

The Argyll and Bute coverage forms part of a three year £146m roll-out, funded by the Scottish Government, the UK Government, HIE and private sector partner BT, with engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, delivering the project on the ground.