Meet Duncan – one of the team helping to transform Scotland
Thursday, 04 February 2016
Thursday, 04 February 2016
There are two main parts to my role. Firstly, I look after all the senior stakeholders in the programme and make sure they know what the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is doing. There are literally hundreds of stakeholders – MSPs, MEPs, elected members and officers at 27 local authorities and also community groups and community councils. So it keeps me very busy!
I am also responsible for making sure that our Enquiries team and all other internal staff members have the information they need to enable the deployment of fibre broadband to go smoothly. This involves making reports and disseminating information. So in summary, my job is about making sure everyone – both internally and externally – has all the information and knowledge they need to ensure our programme is a success.
I am usually out and about meeting MSPs in their constituency offices every Monday and Friday and at the Scottish Parliament mid week – with visits to community groups in between! Many of the presentations I make to community groups are in remote rural locations and take place in the evening, so very often I finish work around 10pm and I may well be in a community hall which is a three or four hour drive away from home!
I am a civil engineer by trade so I have a thorough understanding of all the technical aspects involved in the deployment of fibre broadband. I have also worked at a senior level in local authorities so I can see all the issues from their perspective too. In my current role, all this background experience and insight is incredibly useful.
I love meeting so many people and I enjoy being able to explain exactly what the programme is doing. The programme is not yet half way through and so I am often in the position of explaining to people why they cannot get fibre broadband yet. Understandably, some people can get very frustrated with having to wait. As I have been in this role since before the programme launched to the public, I have a really deep understanding of all the issues and enjoy sharing that knowledge and helping people understand what they can expect.
Most days are spent out and about meeting people – and of course while I am doing that, my inbox is filling up with emails! It can be challenging to find time to deal with all my emails and paperwork, but of course these all have to be covered too. Luckily, fibre broadband WiFi is making it easier to work remotely from some places, when I am out on the road and that helps me keep on top.
Yes, misconceptions are common. Funnily enough, I find that the members of the public I meet in community groups are often better informed than MSPs! It is a complex programme and so it is not surprising that we have to keep working hard to explain it to people. One common misunderstanding is that people often think they do not need to take action themselves and that one day their internet connection will simply become faster! I am forever explaining that people do need to actually order a fibre broadband service from their internet service provider.
Yes, we have fibre broadband at our house in Innerleithen. As well as helping me work effectively from home sometimes during evenings and weekends, I am really enjoying being able to stream films on Amazon Prime and use catch up TV on iPlayer. It’s also fantastic to be able to use Skype in high definition now to speak face to face with our family in Australia.
It is great! It is making such a huge difference to households and businesses across Scotland. It is a real privilege to be part of the team that is making this happen. With every single meeting and presentation I make, we are a step closer to helping transform Scotland.