News and Case Studies

Read news and articles on the progress of the superfast broadband rollout in Scotland and more.

Ultrafast broadband is jewel in the crown for Sorn Castle

Friday, 24 January 2020

Set in remote Ayrshire countryside, Sorn Castle is well known as a top wedding venue. Now, thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme, it’s not just castle staff and wedding guests that are benefitting from full fibre broadband.

The castle, with its 8000-acre estate, lies a few miles outside Mauchline, East Ayrshire – and as well as the historic castle getting speeds of 330Mbps,* the 16 farms and 32 cottages on the estate are also able to connect.

The environment is also a winner, with the castle’s biomass boiler and hydro-electricity system controlled by mobile phone using the powerful wifi now available.  

Full fibre, also known as FTTP, is capable of Gigabit speeds and having the new, ultra-reliable technology available means the estate’s connections with the outside world have been future-proofed for decades to come.

The DSSB programme has now reached more than 943,000 premises across Scotland with a mix of fibre technologies. And more than 60 per cent of these properties have now switched to faster broadband.

Engineers from Openreach will continue work on the ground in East Ayrshire during 2020, thanks to additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up.

Fibre technology offers fast and reliable connections at a range of speeds1 and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. Local people can check if the new fibre services are available to them at

Martyn Robertson, Sorn Castle’s Events Manager, said: “Having FTTP has made a tremendous difference not only to how the castle operates but for a lot of the surrounding farms that sit on the estate. They all now have access to fibre, which makes completing the various regulatory forms which are now required easy, replacing previous slow speeds.

Martyn also explained how the castle has a biomass boiler, using the estate’s sustainable timber, and has re-developed a hydro scheme – turning water from a nearby weir into a sustainable electricity supply. Both of these modern, environmentally friendly systems are controlled by wi-fi, linked to Martyn’s phone.

Martyn said: “The estate is completely self-sufficient and I can control both the systems with my phone thanks to the strong wi-fi connection.”

The castle and estate is a prestigious wedding location and decent broadband is something that couples look for when choosing a venue.

Martyn added: “This year already we have quite a number of weddings booked and the difference having decent, reliable broadband makes is amazing. Prospective customers always ask and now we can confidently explain that guests can stream the event to friends unable to make the big day, while the kids are content on their tablets and consoles. Everyone is happy.”

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland – Digital Scotland funding partners include the UK Government, BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.  Whether you own a business, work from home or want to keep in touch with friends and family, fibre broadband enables multiple users to connect to the internet at high speeds.

Most of the Digital Scotland deployment uses Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology, at speeds of up to 80Mbps[1]  but engineers have been building small deployments of full fibre technology where it’s the best answer for harder-to-reach communities and clusters.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Partnership Manager for Scotland, said: “Right from the start of this transformational rollout we knew it would support Scotland’s economic and social prosperity into the future and stimulate growth for rural businesses.

“Today, this is vividly brought to life at Sorn Castle and estate. It’s a brilliant example of what better broadband means for a rural business and community and how a fully connected Scotland can realise a smart and sustainable future.

“From streaming weddings and filing forms to managing energy, this historic castle and estate are at the forefront of technological change.”