SuperControl (http://www.supercontrol.co.uk/ ) is an online booking system and management tool used by holiday accommodation businesses in the UK and in more than 30 countries worldwide. The company is based in Castle Douglas and has recently upgraded to fibre broadband.
Owner Robert Kennedy explains: “With over 20,000 properties using our system around the globe, our business depends on a massive amount of data, which has been stored at remote servers. Now, we can fire the data back to our own servers in house overnight. This was simply not possible before we had a fibre connection and this alone will save us thousands of pounds a year.”
“What’s more, our virtual private network is completely reliable now we have superfast fibre speeds. One of our developers lives in Poland and now he can work as part of our team just as effectively as if he were in our office in Scotland. It’s also great to know I can connect to all our files and office systems from my mobile with absolute reliability, when I am travelling.
"We are also excited about being able to make more use of Skype in future. With over a thousand clients around the world, it will be brilliant to be able to speak to them face to face."
“We are also excited about being able to make more use of Skype in future. With over a thousand clients around the world, it will be brilliant to be able to speak to them face to face. This will help us build a more personal relationship than we have been able to do so far and will be a terrific boost for the business. Of course, making more use of online video conferencing rather than telephone calls is also likely to lead to big cost savings too.
“Now that we have superfast fibre connectivity, the world really is our oyster. We can continue to expand the business and run a successful global business from our base here in Castle Douglas.”
Bonkers Gift Shop
Bonkers is a gift and card retailer, with town centre stores in St Andrews and Edinburgh. Set up by Lindsey Adam thirty years ago, the business has grown steadily and also now offers online sales to its customer base, who appreciate the refreshingly different, quirky product range.
Bonkers is one of the first businesses to sign up to fibre broadband in St Andrews and within days, the business experienced real benefits.
Lindsey’s partner, Patrick MacEwen, who manages the IT systems for Bonkers, says: “Fibre broadband is already making a huge difference to the efficiency of the business. We are now enjoying broadband internet speeds of over 38 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. Amazingly, this upload speed is ten times faster than we had previously. Having fibre broadband is really transforming a number of important operations for us. Firstly, it is making it so much faster and easier to transfer data between our two stores and our Head Office in St Andrews. We have a sophisticated till management system and all data from the shops gets uploaded to HQ. This process is now practically instant and having better access to live data is enabling a dramatic improvement to our business management, as we can keep track of stock so much more effectively.”
Patrick continues: “As for all businesses, reliable back up of our files is critical. We back up all our data every night onto the cloud. Thanks to fibre broadband, the speed of this has been drastically increased. This means we no longer have to worry about back up at all. We can also now make the most of all the other benefits the cloud brings to small businesses, such as affordable access to cutting edge software and services such as ‘Dropbox’ to transfer large documents between our three sites.
“There is a great benefit to us as a retailer, as all credit card transactions are made over the internet. Since we have had fibre broadband, we have seen a fantastic improvement in response times. For town centre retailers like us, this is really significant as it means that customers get faster service and there is less build up of queues at the counter. At busy times such as Christmas, the benefit of this is immense, and in some cases, it may even mean we can retain a customer we could potentially otherwise lose, if they were put off by queues. So this is a marvellous advantage for us.”
“Fibre broadband is speeding up communications with our online store, which is of course reliant on robust internet connections and which is becoming an increasingly important part of the overall business.”
“What’s more” says Patrick “Fibre broadband is speeding up communications with our online store, which is of course reliant on robust internet connections and which is becoming an increasingly important part of the overall business.”
Patrick adds: “The list of benefits goes on and on! We encourage our staff to make the most of the internet and they are welcome to use it during breaks. We believe that having motivated staff is a vital component of business success, and so having access to superfast fibre broadband is likely to add to their satisfaction at work. We also encourage our staff to get involved in posting to the business Facebook and Twitter accounts, and it is now so much faster and easier for them to upload images or short videos. This will all help us keep the business fresh and build connections with our customers, keeping our business top of mind.
“It is also now viable to make use of interactive online training for our staff, helping us create an even more highly trained and motivated team. Video-conferencing could now be part of our training plans in future. We are also going to investigate using Skype or Voice over Internet Telephony as a replacement for telephone calls which will also help us reduce the cost of our telephone bills.”
Lindsey concludes: “In so many ways, fibre broadband is revolutionising our business. Across the board, it is allowing us to increase our efficiency and productivity. This will help us continue to improve our profitability over time and continue to build a vibrant, successful business.”
Rollos are a long established solicitors and estate agents, with offices in St Andrews, Cupar, Auchtermuchty and Glenrothes. They offer a wide range of legal, financial and property services across Fife, Tayside and further afield, nationally and internationally. Rollos were one of the first businesses to order fibre optic broadband, when it became available in Cupar, which is where the Rollos principal office is based.
“We are now enjoying broadband speeds of over 30Mbps, which is about thirty times faster than we had before!"
Practice Manager Heather Davidson says: “Fibre optic broadband is already having a huge impact on the way we do business as well as opening up exciting new digital opportunities, which we believe will allow us to provide an even better service to our clients in the future.”
Heather continues: “We are now enjoying broadband speeds of over 30Mbps, which is about thirty times faster than we had before! A great deal of our work for clients across a wide spectrum of disciplines requires us to interact online with government, local authority and commercial agencies on a daily basis. In the past, this could often be a highly frustrating and cumbersome task, particularly if the connection were to crash out half way through.
Faster and more efficient
“Now, these routine online tasks can be completed in a fraction of the time. This increases our productivity enormously. Ultimately, it means we can process work much more efficiently and communicate clients and other solicitors such that business can be transacted more quickly and, hopefully, with less stress all round”.
Heather adds: “The central servers for our five branch offices are at the Cupar office, with the other offices linked in through our virtual private network. Now that we have a superfast connection, our network is considerably faster and more robust and reliable. Once we are able to have fibre broadband installed at all the branch offices too, the whole system will become even more effective and we will be able to share data instantaneously.
“Fibre broadband also paves the way for our firm to use cloud computing. This has been an ambition since cloud technology was introduced, however the physical limitations of the network made that unreliable, if not impossible. Cloud computing will bring significant benefits to us. At present, our case management systems are manual. We are planning to introduce a cloud based case management system, which will offer us fantastic amounts of storage, as well as save us time and money.
Face to face communications
“Fibre broadband also allows us to move over to an internet based telephone service. Again, the cost savings from this are likely to be massive. Skype now also comes into play and is something we are likely to use in future, now that we have fibre broadband. With our high speed connection, the video quality should be superb and it means we can use Skype for video conferencing with our more distant clients. This will help us maintain good client contact and relationships, wherever our clients may be in the world.”
Heather concludes: “Fibre broadband really is great news for Rollos. Already, it is improving our productivity, helping us provide a better client led service. Once we have fibre broadband in all our branch offices too, it really will take Rollos’ operation to a whole new level, transforming our business and helping us to meet our clients’ expectations and stay ahead of our competition.”
Jim Gales MBE, who lives with his wife Janet and Guide Dog Zeb, in the village of Springfield, near Cupar, has been amazed at the difference fibre broadband has made to him. Jim, who is blind, works from home managing and developing three different organisations that promote sport for people with disabilities in Scotland. These are Disabled Curling Scotland, Vision Impaired Golf Alliance and the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership.
Jim says: “Before we got high speed fibre broadband, I used to really struggle with the internet, as our connection was less than 1Mbps. Now we can rely on speeds of 38Mbps download and 8Mbps upload. This is absolutely fantastic. It has been a real game changer for me.”Jim has built the websites for the three organisations himself, using a template he found through Digital Fife. This provides good accessibility through screen reader software. Jim adds: “These days, technology is designed with people with visual impairment firmly in mind. For example, with all Apple devices, you just need to press a certain button and it swaps over to voice. With high speed fibre broadband, I can now really make the most of digital technology - I am enjoying fantastic benefits both for work and play."
Faster and more efficient
“For work, the fast speed connections are helping in a number of ways. For the disability sports organisations, video is a particularly important medium for us, as it is through video that we can best convey the excitement of the sports we are promoting. So we make as much use of video as possible, both on our websites and on YouTube. I make some of the videos myself using Microsoft Movie Maker. However, the video files are so large that it used to take ages to upload a video to the internet before we had fibre broadband. Now I can complete the task in a fraction of the time. To give you some idea, it now takes me five minutes to upload a video that would previously have taken me nearly two hours. The huge time saving means I can work more productively.”
Face to face communications
Jim continues: “Another way that fibre broadband helps me at work is that I can now rely on a brilliant quality video conferencing connection on FaceTime. At Scottish Disability Golf, we use video conferencing regularly as it is such a brilliant way of getting together and holding meetings as we are all based in different locations scattered across Scotland.”Jim adds: “We have recently set up a sister organisation in North America. Again, we hold all our meetings and discussions with our colleagues in America over Skype or FaceTime. It is just as though we are all in the same room together. Before we had high speed fibre broadband, the quality was not nearly so crisp, sharp and reliable as it is now.”
Revolutionised leisure time
“Fibre broadband is also making a difference to the quality of our leisure time at home. Up until now, it was impossible to stream films online or watch ‘TV on demand.’ But now we have fibre broadband, we use Amazon Prime to stream films, which means we constantly have thousands of films and TV programming at our fingertips. Both my wife and I love movies, so it is great to have all this choice instantly available to us.“My wife, who was not at all interested in computers before, has been inspired by the opportunities fibre broadband provides and she is now an avid user of her iPad. She loves using Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family and she also uses FaceTime to chat face to face online with friends in Canada.”Jim adds: “We do practically all our shopping online now and to our delight that is practically instant with high speed fibre broadband. Books, groceries, clothes, gadgets – we buy them all online now.”Jim concludes: “Fibre broadband has made a huge difference to me. It has transformed my work and revolutionised the accessibility options available for leisure time. It really has expanded horizons for both my wife and I. We now feel we can connect to the world, as though on a level playing field, from our home in the rural village of Springfield.”
Silver City Surfers
Silver City Surfers is an innovative charity bringing digital skills to people aged over 55 in Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland. The organisation runs five free sessions a week in the city, where people can gain confidence in using IT, with one to one tuition from instructors at their own pace, all in a relaxed, social setting. Silver City Surfers are now benefiting from a high speed fibre connection at the Salvation Army Citadel in Aberdeen, where hundreds of people attend their sessions each year.
"It is helping older people stay connected with their family and friends"
Co-ordinator Liz Hunter says: “With the fibre broadband connection, the internet experience is dramatically improved. For example, the quality of the video on Skype or FaceTime is significantly better. It makes no difference how many people are online at the same time –everyone can still enjoy the same terrific high speed connection.”
Liz continues: “Fibre broadband is bringing a whole range of brilliant benefits. It is helping older people stay connected with their family and friends, even if they live thousands of miles apart. It also helps everyone stay on top of the news, explore their interests and learn new skills, as well as access government services and shop around for the best deals for just about anything. A world of possibilities is just a click away, and fibre broadband is making the whole experience even better.”
Meet the Silver City Surfers...
Margaret, who lives in Aberdeen, is finding that her iPad is making a difference in a huge number of ways.
She says: “Recently I was able to use my iPad to talk with a friend who is working in South East Asia. My friend needed to find a document that she had left in my loft. Using the live video camera in the iPad, as we walked it through the loft, my friend was able to pinpoint exactly where she had left the document. Without the iPad, it would have taken ages to locate exactly where it was! It was also lovely to have a face to face chat with her. With high speed fibre broadband, the quality of the video connection will be better than ever in future.”
Margaret continues: “Another wonderful benefit is being able to borrow library books online. I have downloaded an app called ‘Overdrive’. Now I can choose library books, which are then downloaded to my iPad, from which I can read them wherever I am. This is a big advantage to me, as I used to visit the library regularly, but I am not quite so mobile now, so it is brilliant being able to use the library service without having to travel.
“I also use Facebook to keep in touch with family and close friends. It is a particularly useful way of staying in touch with my 23 year old grandson in London. He is so busy, it is easy for us to stay in touch on Facebook, but I am not sure he would bother otherwise. Facebook messaging is so quick and easy. Facebook is also a great way to keep in touch with what is going on at my church, as they have a Facebook page too.”
“I am a Christian and being able to use fast internet also helps me with my research and study. For example, I can now access different translations of the Bible instantly.”
Margaret adds: “I am even using the cloud – I have uploaded all my photos onto Flickr. So now I know that all my photos are safely stored.”
Margaret concludes: “There are so many advantages to the internet for people of all ages. It helps you stay connected. High speed fibre broadband will make it even easier for everyone to lead a full life, staying closely connected to their loved ones and pursuing their interests. Thanks to Silver City Surfers, I am able to take full advantage of the digital age.”
Chris Wright, 67, lives in Aberdeen and has been a regular visitor to Silver City Surfers for the past four years. He greatly appreciates the friendly atmosphere and the one to one tuition at the centre.
Some years ago, Chris suffered a stroke and he has had to re-learn how to speak. He continues to find reading and writing difficult, so the internet has opened up new methods of communication for him.
Chris says: “I often use YouTube, as there are great videos on just about every subject under the sun. For example, I have a strong interest in the technical side of computing and I am teaching myself Raspberry Pi, learning from videos on YouTube.
“I also have an interest in First Aid, and I use YouTube to increase my skills in this, as well as pursue my other hobbies and interests.
“With superfast fibre broadband, streaming videos is smooth and easy. The quality is amazing and there is no buffering, as there used to be in the past, with a slower internet connection.”
Chris adds: “As I struggle with using a keyboard, I find the voice recognition feature on my iPad very useful indeed. This means I can use email and so on, without having to type anything.
“I am now starting to use Skype and love the idea of being able to chat face to face with friends around the world. With fibre broadband, the video and sound on Skype is extremely high quality. I am sure Skype will make a big difference to me in future, it is such a great way of staying connected.
“Skype also gives me the opportunity to practice speaking, which is helpful to me, as part of my stroke recovery.
“Another huge benefit is being able to use iPlayer and catch up on TV programmes at whatever time suits me, rather than when the programme is scheduled. With fibre broadband, streaming TV and films is instant. So you always have a wide choice of great entertainment at your fingertips.”
Chris concludes: “Fibre broadband is fantastic as it is improving the internet experience, opening new doors and helping me continue to learn online, as well as speak to friends around the world.”
Pam received an iPad as an eightieth birthday present from her son and daughter and is now able to use high speed fibre broadband at her home in Aberdeen.
Pam says: “It’s wonderful. Now I am able to have so much more contact with my daughter and three grandchildren, who live in Washington DC in the USA, than I ever could before.
“Facebook is an amazing way of staying in contact with my teenage grandchildren. Because of the time difference, it would have been difficult to speak on the phone, as by the time they get home from school, it’s night time in Scotland. So it’s fantastic to be able to message on Facebook at whatever time is convenient for us all. It is so quick and easy that it means we can share photos and videos, and stay closely connected.
“I also use FaceTime to video chat to my grandchildren. At special times like birthdays it is particularly thrilling to be able to see what is happening at their end and get involved. With fibre broadband, the video is crystal clear. I almost feel like I am in the room with my family.”
Pam continues: “High speed fibre broadband also makes it easy to surf the internet, checking websites for recipe ideas and inspiration related to my hobbies, such as flower arranging. I get all kinds of tremendous ideas and information from the internet.
“And when I am I am in the USA for a holiday, I can stay in touch with all the news from my friends and my Church.
“As I suffer from macular degeneration, it’s also a big advantage to me to read books on my iPad, as I can enlarge the print until I can see it clearly. I love reading and thanks to my fast broadband connection, I can download books instantly and read them in comfort.”
Pam concludes: “With the support from Silver City Surfers, getting to grips with technology has been surprisingly easy. Now, high speed fibre broadband is making an incredible difference to my life. With my iPad, I can stay closely connected to my family and friends, as well as stay in touch with fresh ideas on subjects that interest me. Using the internet is helping me stay young!”
Ann Leith, who is in her early eighties, enjoys staying in touch with friends around the world through email and Facebook.
Ann says: “I have friends in Hong Kong and I love to see photographs of their children as they grow up. Facebook is ideal as it is so easy to see all their very latest photos there. It is lovely to be able to share in what they are doing. It means you feel that you are still close to them all, despite the distance.”
Ann continues: “I also regularly email friends in Tel Aviv, Denmark and the West Indies. I would not necessarily go to the trouble of writing letters to them all, it is just so wonderfully easy to drop a few quick lines on email. Email helps you to keep friendships active that might otherwise tail off.
“A friend of mine in his early nineties uses Skype to stay in touch with family in Australia and says it is great. It would be lovely to chat face to face with my friends on video in this way, so Skype is something I plan to try out. With high speed fibre broadband, the quality should be brilliant.
“At present, I am still quite mobile, but I am well aware of the benefits of online shopping, should that be helpful to me in the future. There may come a time when it would be really useful to order groceries online and have them delivered to my door.
“Of course, the internet is also incredibly useful as a way of finding the information you need on any topic. I use it routinely to check out the location of places and get directions, for example.”
Ann adds: “I am really excited about the arrival of high speed fibre broadband across Scotland. It will make it even easier to enjoy all the many benefits of the internet and open new possibilities as well. I believe you have to keep young at heart and to do that, you have to keep embracing new opportunities.”
Alec says: “Most of the teaching materials are on video, through sites such as Khan Academy, BBC Bite Size and Crash Course.
Until we got our new superfast fibre connection, it was very difficult because the videos would not stream properly and kept slowing down and stopping. This was really annoying and made it difficult to pay attention and learn. But now we have fibre broadband, it is great! Videos work perfectly and it is also easier to access the school network.
Everyone online at once
“Another thing that makes a big difference is that everyone in our family can be online at the same time now. Mum and Dad used to come off the internet if I needed it, because we could not all be online at the same time, without it slowing right down. My internet is all set up in my bedroom and I used to have to come downstairs and ask them to get off the internet, if there was something I needed to do. Now we can all be online at the same time and there is no problem. We can all relax.”
Work from home
Alec’s father Gordon agrees. “The improvement in broadband speeds has been fantastic for us. We used to get speeds of around 5Mbps. Now, with fibre broadband, we are enjoying speeds of around 35 Mbps. Fibre broadband has transformed the way we can all use the internet at home. Alec and Lisa were always complaining, as we had to ration its use. But now we can all do our own thing and it has got rid of that everyday stress. My wife Jacqui provides voluntary support to PAGES, a charity that helps young people with additional needs. With fibre broadband, it is easier for her to work for the charity online from home too.
“My wife and I are also really enjoying NetFlix, which we could not do before, and I am even now planning to enrol on an Open University course in Psychology. My daughter Lisa has a good friend in America whom she speaks to on Skype and she loves the fact that the quality of the Skype connection has improved, as a result of the superfast fibre connection. The Skype connection is crystal clear now, so it is making it easier for her to chat to her friend. Fibre broadband is making it possible for us to do so much more online. It is opening new horizons for us all.” For Alec, perhaps the most important benefit is that fibre broadband is also making it easier for him to enjoy his passion for online gaming.
Real-time online gaming
He says: “I love online gaming and now everything is easier. In the past, it could sometimes take the best part of a day to download a game. Now I can download a game in minutes. I use all kinds of different devices and applications and now I can multi-task, with different applications going at the same time. Online gaming is really brilliant and I can compete with people around the world from our home here in Hatton. Fibre broadband is making it easier for me to work and play.”
David says: “Fibre broadband has made a massive difference to me. It has put an end to all the hand wringing and it has lowered my blood pressure!”
David explains: “Due to the nature of my business, I often have to upload large data files. Before I had fibre broadband, my upload speeds were less than 1Mbps. This meant that sometimes it could take literally hours to upload. The loss in productivity was shocking.
“My new fibre broadband connection reliably provides speeds of 74 Mbps download and 18 Mbps upload. It is the improvement in the upload speeds that is the most dramatic for me. My old connection gave me around 18 Mbps download, so I am now getting a fourfold increase in download speeds and a whopping twenty fold increase in upload speeds. This twenty fold increase is fantastic news for me, saving me an incredible amount of time and boosting my productivity no end.”
Amazing upload speeds
David continues: “I am almost certain that most people do not appreciate how amazing the upload speeds you get with fibre broadband are! The focus always tends to be on the headline download speeds but actually the improvement in upload speeds is even more important for some people. As well as for businesses like mine, there are so many things that people want to do nowadays that depend on uploading to the internet. One everyday example is if you want to upload a video from your smartphone or iPad onto social media. That could take ages unless you have a fibre broadband connection.
Opening up new opportunities
“With fast upload speeds you can also take advantage of the cloud for storage of photos, or use the cloud to back up your data online. Because faster upload speeds are now becoming available, this makes cloud storage viable for the first time for most people. Being able to use the cloud is a real game changer.
“VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony is another application that benefits from fast upload speeds and is making a big difference for many businesses, saving them a lot of money compared with fixed telephone lines.
Whole family online together
“Apart from fast upload, the other big benefit for me and other home based businesses is that it does not matter how many people in the family are online at the same time. My wife uses Skype to keep in touch with family in Australia and she loves the improvement in the quality of the connection now we have fibre broadband.
Helping the community
I have also enabled wireless connections from our property to a neighbouring community bookshop. And even if my wife and the bookshop are both online, it makes no difference at all to the fantastic broadband speeds I enjoy.”
David concludes: “Fibre broadband is helping me increase productivity and generally saving me untold amounts of frustration. Fast download speeds are great but it’s the fast upload speeds that are the unsung hero as far as I am concerned.”
Alison Bradley and her husband Denis run a multi-award winning magazine about contemporary flower design that sells to customers in 75 countries across the globe. They run the business from a home office in the rural village of Kippen in West Stirlingshire. Since founding the business in 2001, the couple have established an enthusiastic following on every continent, including over 200,000 fans on Facebook and other social media.
Alison says: “I can hardly describe the phenomenal difference that fibre broadband makes. It changes everything and has opened up fantastic new avenues that were previously closed to us.”
Incredible time savings
Alison says: “We send artwork for the magazine to our printers by email. Before we had fibre broadband, our upload speeds were so slow that this would take over seven hours. Now we have upload speeds of 20 Mbps, it takes moments. The difference is incredible. We have contributors based around the world and they send us their articles and images by email. Again, we can download these instantly now, thanks to our superfast download speeds of nearly 80 Mbps.“We run an annual competition, the Fusion Flowers International Designer of the Year, which attracts hundreds of entries. Our old broadband connection was so slow that entrants had to send their photographs by international parcel courier. Now, they can email them to our cloud application DropBox and we can download them instantly from there. Entrants from Australia were previously paying up to £90 for a courier. Eliminating these costs will boost the number of entries and increase the profile of the competition still further.”
Transforming customer engagement
Alison continues: “Fibre broadband also transforms what we can do with our massive social media following. We run competitions on Facebook and attract huge numbers of entries. Our last competition, which invited people to design a bridal bouquet, generated over a million engagements in a week. With this kind of level of engagement, our Facebook page would often crash five times a day. Now we have fibre broadband, our Facebook connection is robust and reliable and we can continue to grow our levels of customer engagement.
New business development
“Fibre broadband has also speeded the development of a fabulous new business. With such a large community of followers, growers are increasingly asking us to use it for their own market research. Recently, growers in Holland streamed a series of images of different variants of lily they were breeding onto our Facebook page and then were able to measure feedback from our community. This helps growers identify which variants of plant have most customer appeal as well as which countries to target. At present, use of our social media channels for third party market research is in its early stages but now we have fibre broadband, we can develop this further and have already begun to commercialise it.
Using the power of video to sell
“Another really exciting new avenue is that we can make far greater use of video, now we can upload new videos to the internet at superfast speeds. One previous attempt to upload a video to YouTube took us all night. Now all that frustration is over. We will be able to make more use of video on our website too, which will also help with engagement. We sell books, DVDs and accessories as well as magazine subscriptions from our website, so use of more online video will help bring it all to life and is likely to lead to more sales.”
Innovative ways of working
Alison adds: “Uploading all our data to the cloud for back up storage has become so easy! That job used to take all night and was a living hell as it would slow the whole system down. Now it’s quick and straightforward and my frustration level has gone from sky high to zero.Alison concludes: “Fibre broadband has made a dramatic difference. Now, at last, we can continue to innovate and grow, without being held back by our connectivity. Thanks to fibre broadband, our business is really blooming.”
Vivienne Seeley set up VivID, a graphic design consultancy, 15 years ago working from her home in St Boswells in the Scottish Borders. The company has gone from strength to strength and Vivienne has clients across the UK as well as many local clients, for whom she designs brand identities, websites and other marketing materials.
Vivienne says: “Fibre broadband has made a huge difference to me. I need to send large design files to clients and printers and in the past, this could take ages. The internet connection would often crash and I would need to start again, which was really frustrating. Now, files are sent instantly. I just don’t have to think about the technology any more, I can get on with my business.”
Whole family working and playing online
With two teenage children and a husband who runs a recruitment company from home, Vivienne says that before they had a fibre connection, all four of them would compete for the available bandwidth. “Our two businesses tended to come first, which meant that my sons were frustrated because they could not do what they wanted online such as play X-Box games or download videos. The delays caused tension in the household as we had to take turns to use the available bandwidth on our slow connection. So it is fantastic for us that now everyone can enjoy the same fast speeds regardless of how many people are online at the same time.”Vivienne’s husband Paul agrees. “I log into our office network from home and find that now we have fibre broadband, the connection is considerably faster and more reliable.”
Collaborating with colleagues around the UK
Vivienne continues: “Because it is so much faster to send and receive files now, it is easier for me to collaborate with colleagues who are based elsewhere. I work with web developers who could be anywhere in the UK and now we can share files instantly. Before, I may have had to supply design files on a memory stick, which meant that time was lost on projects. It is also really noticeable that when I back up my data, this is so much faster too.
Growing the business
“Graphic design is a competitive industry and now that I can be so much more productive, it is far easier to develop and grow the business. I am looking forward to even greater benefits in future as I will be able to use Skype for meetings, saving time and money, and make more use of cloud computing. I will be able to work with clients and colleagues in London and elsewhere on a level playing field.”Vivienne adds: “Fibre broadband has made it so much easier to run a business from the family home. With fibre, we can all get on with what we want to do. It may be going a little far to say that fibre broadband has changed our lives, but it has certainly made life a lot easier and more productive for all the family.”
Costing less than before
Vivienne adds: “The icing on the cake is that the fibre connection is costing less than our previous slow broadband connection! We used to pay around £17 a month and now we just pay £10. It’s brilliant! We took advantage of the opportunity to change service providers and we have a great package, including telephone calls too.“Getting a fibre connection has brought immense benefits to my whole family and it means I can now continue to grow my design business, without being restricted by the technology.”
Val says "Since I started up my Stella and Dot operation, business has skyrocketed. I love the work and feel I have really found my niche. I am now a director of the company and I have a team of 126 women working for me across Scotland. So business is going brilliantly but until I had a fibre broadband connection, it was often impossible to work from home as the previous broadband connection was so slow – only 1Mbps. I would have to go into town and use a WiFi hotspot in a cafe. This was really frustrating as so much valuable time got wasted.
Increased sales revenues
"Having a fibre broadband connection is absolutely fantastic. We can now rely on broadband speeds of around 35 Mbps, so now I can make full use of social media, which is my main selling tool. I can upload photos of the product line to Facebook instantaneously whereas it took ages before. I can also use video on social media for the first time. I could not use video at all before, as it would have taken several hours to upload to Facebook. Now I can upload videos in seconds. I uploaded a video of our new Winter Collection last night and I have orders already this morning. As jewellery is such a visual product, it makes a huge difference to the business to be able to show photos and videos easily. This is having a direct impact on sales revenue and will really help me grow the business.
Faster response to enquiries
"Another area where fibre broadband is directly improving sales revenue is that it is now so much faster for me to follow up on enquiries. This is all done by email. In the past, the internet connection would often drop out and so it would take ages to follow up on all leads, meaning that some may not have been followed up at all, or at least not within the ideal time frame. Now that I can follow up promptly, this is leading to many more sales.
"Fibre broadband is also making communications easier. I regularly speak to my boss in the United States on FaceTime and the quality of the connection is sharper with the superfast fibre connection. I also have weekly conference calls with my team. In future, we should be able to make use of FaceTime or Skype for these, which will save a considerable amount of money and also make it easier to develop team spirit and camaraderie through face to face communications.
Easier to work from home
"Even on an everyday level, fibre broadband is making it loads easier to run my business effectively from home. For example, I back up all my data in the cloud and this all happens instantly now. In general, fibre broadband is helping create a calmer, more efficient working environment and it means that a business model such as Stella and Dot’s, which relies on social media for promotion, can really take off and flourish."
Tom says: "I can now rely on broadband speeds of 36 Mbps download, which is more than ten times faster than the speeds we received before. That makes a tremendous difference to the way I can work from home. For example, I recently had to download a huge file from a client that would previously have taken 24 hours! With the fibre broadband connection, it took no longer than two hours, which meant that I could get on with the project and deliver the client what he wanted faster. Design is a competitive industry and speed helps us stay ahead.
"Having fibre broadband will make an even more dramatic difference in winter. On days when it is snowing or there are transport problems, I can continue working from home, without any loss of productivity, rather than try to battle in to the office."
Productive video calls
"Fibre broadband is also making it so much easier to use Skype. We frequently use video calls to speak to clients, but if I joined a call from home before, it would often break up. Now it is perfect quality. I often want to show a client a website when on a video call but I used to hesitate to do this as it would make the quality even worse. Now, I can show websites and share slides on a video call, and it makes no difference at all to the crystal clear video and audio. This makes it so much easier to have productive meetings with clients over Skype."
Tom adds: "I can also rely on instant connection to the office servers via our Virtual Private Network (VPN). This means I can access all the office files whenever I need them. In the past, if I was going to work from home, I had to plan it in advance and take the files home with me. Now, I do not have to worry about that and can always access whatever I need from the office as well as respond speedily to any unexpected client demands.
"One time I really notice the improvement in speeds is when I am making amendments to a website. Now, these copy to the server instantly whereas before there would be a delay of a few minutes each time. Whenever that happened, I would lose concentration and it had a significant impact on productivity overall. Now I can just crack through the work."
Music throughout the house
Tom continues: "As well as changing the way I can work from home, fibre broadband is making a difference to the way we live. Ann and I love music and now we will be able to install a Sonos system and enjoy multi-room music, controlled from our mobile phone or tablet. We can pick music from Spotify and create exactly the mood we want throughout the house and office. For example, I find certain types of music help me concentrate and work faster. Now all this will be at our fingertips."
Connecting all the family
"We are also making full use of catch up TV on iPlayer now, which we could hardly use at all before, because it kept buffering. And, especially with a teenager in the household, it is wonderful to be able to rely on the same fast broadband regardless of how many of us are online at the same time. Lewis is a big user of social media and YouTube. He is interested in Anime, a Japanese film animation style, and he talks to friends and other Anime enthusiasts around the world. So he is really delighted we have the fibre connection as we used to ask him to get off the internet, if we needed the bandwidth for something else. You can imagine his frustration and how pleased we all are that this is in the past.
"It’s also fantastic to be able to use Skype to talk to Ann’s daughter, who is travelling in India. It makes all the difference to be able to have long face to face conversations and even see the hotels she is staying in – and all at no cost!"
Tom concludes: "Fibre broadband is making a huge difference to my ability to work from home as well as improving the quality of life for everyone in my family."
High definition films and TV on demand
Graeme says: "I enjoy using Netflix and watching ‘TV on demand’ on iPlayer. Before I had fibre broadband, there could be buffering on the film or programme and the whole experience was just not very smooth. When you select something, it comes up straightaway and the whole operation is much more consistent now. I watch the majority of my TV and films on the internet these days. Now everything is so much smoother and there is never any buffering. Thanks to fibre broadband, I have also now been able to take the HD (High Definition) package on Netflix. This would have been impossible with my old broadband connection and means that I can enjoy infinitely better quality now."
Whole family online together
Graeme continues: "I have two boys aged 11 and 14 who stay with me every second weekend. Time spent with the lads is precious and I want us all to enjoy every second. We usually watch a film together on a Saturday night, so it is great to be able to relax and do that in HD, without having to worry about whether the internet connection will drop out. Downloading music from iTunes is much snappier too.
"When the boys are with me, they often use their iPads to chat to their friends on social media, download videos from YouTube or play games online. All three of us can be online at the same time now, without noticing any difference in the fast internet speeds, so we are all much happier!"
Dramatic improvement in upload speeds
Graeme adds: "Another area where I am noticing a big difference is when it comes to storing digital photos in the cloud. Before I had fibre broadband, it took an hour or so to upload fifty photos, whereas now I can do this in a couple of minutes. The upload speeds I am enjoying with fibre broadband are around thirty times faster than I had before, so the improvement on this is really dramatic.
Working from home
"The higher upload speeds will also make it easier if I am working from home and I need to send large files by email. This is another example of how the whole digital experience has been transformed for me, saving me time, making my life smoother and adding to my choices."
Russel Griggs OBE
Before the couple had fibre broadband installed, their internet was quite slow and unreliable. Now they have fibre broadband, they can rely on internet speeds of 60-70 Mbps download and around 16 Mbps upload.
Professor Griggs says: "I can now attend board meetings in London via video conferencing, rather than having to travel to London. It works brilliantly and allows me to take part in the meeting just as effectively as if I were there in person. As well as saving me travel time and travel costs, it really improves the quality of my life."
Professor Griggs continues: "Because the fibre connection is so crystal clear and reliable, I can also now use video conferencing to carry out interviews of job candidates. With fibre broadband, it opens up the possibility of interviewing candidates overseas; it is shrinking the world and opening up a potential global talent pool for businesses, which can help make them more competitive."
"I also use applications such as Go To Meeting for video conference and other applications, whereby I can work with colleagues on documents, wherever they are based in the world."
He adds: "Of course fibre broadband also radically changes how fast and easy it is to transfer files by email. I regularly produce huge reports which include many graphics. The files are very large and they used to take ages to upload. Now I can send them to my clients instantly. I no longer experience the frustration I used to have when I was using the internet.
Improved work-life balance
"The upshot of all this is that fibre broadband is helping me achieve a better work-life balance. I can carry out business productively without having to leave my home in Sanquhar and the time saved means that I have more time for my hobbies and interests. At present, we are working on our large garden and fibre broadband is freeing me up to spend more time gardening and enjoying the other good things in life."
Professor Griggs’s wife Liz agrees. As Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Embroiderers Guild and board member of a local arts centre, Liz too is appreciating the benefits of fibre broadband.
Liz says: "I sometimes work with graphic designers elsewhere and it is great to know that this can now be done instantly. Because uploading is now so quick and easy, it has encouraged me to start making more use of video in communications for the organisations with which I am involved. For example, I recently made a video for an event and uploaded it to YouTube. With our fibre broadband connection, this was instant.
Keeping in touch
"Russel and I both use FaceTime to keep in touch with family. It is fantastic to be able to keep up face to face contact with our grandchildren, despite being hundreds of miles apart. With fibre broadband, the quality of the video connection is loads better as well, which makes it easier to have really natural conversations with the children."
More options for leisure
Liz adds: "I am an avid photographer and it is great being able to store photos and videos securely in the cloud. We also love the way that Netflix and Amazon Prime are such perfect quality, thanks to fibre broadband. So it really increases the options for our leisure time.
Professor Griggs concludes: "With fibre broadband, the internet is now a brilliant and effective tool for us in so many ways, allowing us to get on with our business and get more out of life."
The Glen Lui Hotel
Fast WiFi for guests
She says: "Hotel visitors have higher and higher expectations and most now expect fast and efficient WiFi for guests. This is not only business customers. For example, we recently had a guest from the United States who was well into her eighties. Her family had given her an iPad so she could stay in touch with them and she needed WiFi. In the past, our old broadband connection was not fast enough to provide an effective service, but now we have fibre broadband, our guests can all rely on great connections, regardless of how many people are online at any one time. Being able to offer fast WiFi to guests provides us with a competitive edge over any hotels that do not offer this."
Susan continues: "We use a cloud based channel management system for invoicing and we use accounting software that is in the cloud. Before we had our new fibre connection, the system would slow right down if guests were using WiFi, but now it works perfectly at all times. We also use the cloud for backing up all our data and again, this routine task can be carried out in a fraction of the time. This is all a great improvement and the time saved allows us to be more productive. As less time has to be spent on all the back office systems, we have more time to spend making sure our guests are all having a wonderful time.
"Being in a remote rural location, it is also really helpful to be able to access online training courses instantly and without any videos buffering. We currently have an employee who is studying for an accountancy course online and she is really pleased that she can now get on with her learning, without having to worry about the connection to the internet.
New ways to market the hotel
"We are also really excited about the new developments fibre broadband will enable. We are creating a new website and now I will be able to fulfil a long held dream, which is to include a high definition webcam on our website. There are amazing views from here towards Lochnagar, as well as red squirrels and deer all around. We can share all of this now through live streaming on a webcam, which will help our marketing of the hotel.
"Thanks to fibre broadband, we will also be able to make more use of online videos in future. Again, this will help us promote the hotel through showing our beautiful setting. With our fast upload speeds, it will be quick and easy to upload videos onto the website and social media."
Susan concludes: "All in all, fibre broadband is fantastic news for our hotel. It will help us provide the services our customers expect and reach out to new customers in fresh and exciting ways."
Revitalising local communities
“Superfast broadband provides us with the opportunity to create a virtual hub for the village, connecting people again. We are seizing the opportunity with both hands and creating a dynamic web portal, which will be a central point for information about events, local heroes and council discussions, as well as other important information such as about localised flooding. We will also be harnessing the power of social media channels to bring villagers instant access to local information created by other villagers. Use of the internet in this way would not have been viable before the arrival of superfast broadband in Langbank. Now we have plans to create a virtual hub that we hope will be a blueprint for other local communities across Scotland. It’s incredibly exciting and the whole village is buzzing about it.”
Dav is also delighted by the difference fibre broadband is making to his own freelance digital consultancy. He says: “A regular task is uploading videos to YouTube for clients. In the past, uploading a video would take hours and it was something I had to leave running overnight, wasting electricity and with a risk of losing the connection half way through. Now, I can upload a video in around 20 minutes. The difference the time saving makes to my productivity is enormous, I also experience the benefits in other ways – for example, uploading photos and files to websites, using Dropbox for file transfer, updates to software, backing up my files in the cloud- all of these tasks are now extremely fast and straightforward. The list of benefits goes on and on.
Transforming business potential
“Another area where superfast broadband is transforming the way I work is in relation to my communications with clients. This is clearly exceptionally important as good communications are essential to winning and retaining clients. Now I have a reliable superfast connection, I can service clients regardless of geographical location. I use an internet based voice calling service to speak to clients in New York and London, without having to run up intergalactic phone bills. And I can use internet screen sharing to show websites to clients whilst I am speaking to them, so I can point out and explain features in just the same way as I would if we were sitting in the same room together. Being able to make the most of the internet in this way is a fantastic boost to my business. It means that I am not limited or held back at all by my physical location. The world really is my oyster now.”
Improving leisure experiences
Dav continues: “On a personal level too, I am loving the way superfast broadband makes it so much easier to make the most of my leisure time. I use many cloud based services such as Spotify and Netflix. I also enjoy online gaming and I can now enjoy all of these without interruption. The quality of the experience has been improved beyond recognition.
“All in all, the arrival of fibre broadband is great news for me and for the village of Langbank. It is already allowing us all to do things that would have been impossible before. And it is enabling us to break new ground in relation to the community portal. In future, I can see this developing in so many exciting ways, for example to include online healthcare initiatives. Fibre broadband has opened new doors for all of us that I believe will transform and revitalise our rural communities.”
Christina Kelly and Family
Christina Kelly lives in the Glasgow suburb of Stepps with her husband David and 14 year old son Matt. As Managing Director of public relations firm Golley Slater, she sometimes works from home and finds this is significantly easier now she has a fibre broadband connection. However, for Christina, the biggest advantage is that the whole family can now be online at the same time and that everyone in the household is happier as a result. “I no longer have a grumpy son!’ she says.
Christina explains: “Like most 14 year olds, Matt loves online gaming and will spend hours on his Xbox and Playstation, competing with friends around the world. Before we connected to fibre broadband, our internet connection was extremely slow so he often experienced glitches. Understandably, this used to drive him mad! The connection was even slower if more than one of us went online at the same time, so he would often shout down from his bedroom, asking us to get off the internet!
All online together
“Now we have fibre broadband, it has transformed what we can all do online. There are fewer arguments in the household and we can each get on with what we want to do, without having to take into account the other family members and their needs. As well as using the internet for gaming, Matt carries out many of his school homework assignments online, watches videos on YouTube and uses Snapchat to stay in touch with his friends. It is fantastic that he can now make the most of the Internet, without getting frustrated.”
Christina continues: “Meanwhile, David and I can now watch films on Netflix and Amazon Prime and enjoy perfect quality. Before we had fibre broadband, we experienced so much buffering that we often just gave up out of sheer frustration. David can also now download films and TV programmes from BBC iPlayer onto his iPad in seconds, ready to watch on his 30 minute commute into Glasgow. He also uses the internet to keep up to date with his football team and join in discussions on their internet forum. David is really enjoying being able to follow his interests in this way, whenever he wants and without having to compromise on quality.”
Working effectively from home
“In addition, fibre broadband has made it far easier for me to work from home. Working in public relations, my clients may sometimes need support at short notice. Now, I can work from home at weekends or out of hours just as effectively as if I were in the office as I can download and send large documents instantly. I use the cloud application DropBox to transfer files. In the past, if I anticipated that I may need to work out of hours, I would try to take any relevant documents home with me on a memory stick. Now I am freed up from that need to plan ahead, as I can be confident that I have all the resources I need at my fingertips, wherever I am.”
Christina adds: “When I do need to work at weekends, it takes up far less time now. Because I can upload and download files in seconds, I can complete a task in ten minutes that might previously have taken well over an hour. So I can make the most of my leisure time with my family.
Saving time and money
“Fibre broadband is also saving us time and money when it comes to carrying out household administration. I organise all our banking, bills and insurance online and this can all be completed noticeably faster now. It is also quick and easy to research the best deals online, for example for utilities, travel or insurance. We also store our photos in the cloud and again this is so much easier and quicker now.”
Christina concludes: “Fibre broadband is making life significantly easier for me and my family. It is saving us all time and enriching our life in many different ways.”
Phil Prentice is Chief Officer of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership, an initiative fostering growth and economic development in 500 towns across Scotland. Phil and his wife moved from Glasgow to Inverkip, a historic conservation village on the Clyde coast for lifestyle reasons and they were prepared to accept compromising on connectivity. However, now he has a fibre broadband connection, Phil says he does not need to compromise on broadband speeds after all and he can enjoy ‘the best of all worlds.
"Fibre broadband will be a major driver of growth and increased productivity throughout Scotland and it is incredibly exciting to experience the benefits first hand."
Dramatic increase in productivity
Heading up a team of six people based in different locations across Scotland, Phil appreciates how fibre broadband enables flexible working.
"I can work just as effectively from home as from our office which means I can be far more productive. With high speed broadband, it is also straightforward for our team to hold ‘virtual meetings’ using desk top file sharing and video conferencing. We store all team documents in the cloud, so we all have access to them, despite being in different locations. With the fibre broadband connection, it is instant to upload and access documents."
"Video conferencing was sometimes poor quality before, but with the new fibre connection, I can rely on it being sharp and clear. I am sometimes involved in Skype calls with colleagues from overseas, including for example the US and India. It is absolutely fantastic to be able to hold face to face international business meetings from my home by the sea in Inverkip.
"Because we are working with 500 towns across Scotland, including on the islands, video conferencing is an essential tool to be able to communicate effectively. Being able to see someone and their facial expressions is a big advantage over a telephone call as it makes it easier to build rapport and have productive meetings. The distance ceases to be an issue."
Transforming business potential
"We also make considerable use of video to promote our work. We video all our events, as well as case studies and vox pops. With fibre broadband, it radically decreases the amount of time it takes to send and receive video files. Something that could have taken hours before will now take a couple of minutes. This makes it viable to put video at the heart of our communications. This will help our organisation achieve its ambitions."
"We are creating a web portal that will be the central hub for our work. With fibre broadband, it is going to be so much faster to upload new files, images and videos to this. The increase in productivity overall is dramatic."
Improving leisure experiences
Phil adds: "My wife and I also benefit from fibre broadband in our leisure time. I love films and music, so it is great to be able to stream these. In the past, I once cancelled our Netflix subscription because the service was too poor, but now I can rely on brilliant quality and I enjoy having thousands of films at my fingertips. We use the Smart TV, laptop, iPad altogether and when my son and his girlfriend visit, we could easily have up to eight devices online at once. In the past, my son would shout at us to turn off all our devices because he needed more bandwidth! Now, we can all enjoy great broadband speeds, however many of us in the household are online at the same time.
Phil concludes: "Fibre broadband is increasing my personal options and flexibility as well as enabling our organisation to achieve more than it otherwise could, through improved communications and collaboration. I think fibre broadband will be a major driver of growth and increased productivity throughout Scotland and it is incredibly exciting to experience the benefits first hand."
Robert and Christine Young
Robert and Christine Young live in the small rural village of Chapelton in South Lanarkshire. They are thrilled to have a superfast broadband connection as it has revolutionised their ability to work from home effectively.
"Superfast broadband has opened up new horizons, allowing us to work effectively from home as well as creating fresh opportunities."
The couple used to struggle with a slow connection and are now experiencing around 57 Mbps download and 10 upload. Robert says: "To my amazement and delight, our reliable superfast service is costing us £8 a month less than we used to pay for slow broadband!’
Helping develop their small business
As well as both working full time, Robert and Christine run their own photography business www.westieproductions.co.uk from home. Robert says: "I especially appreciate the faster upload speeds. It used to take me all night to upload photography files to go to the printer. Now it takes hardly any time at all.
"The superfast connection means that I can now upload full images to my website. Previously, files of that size would have taken too long to upload so it was only realistic to use thumbnails. This means I can now showcase my work far better than before, which will help me develop the business."
Robert continues: "Now that uploads are so fast, I can also make use of the cloud to store all my photos and back up my files, which is so much easier. I value the extra reassurance of having files stored securely in the cloud, rather than on a hard drive at home, where they could be vulnerable to fire, theft or another unforeseen disaster.
"It is also far easier to use the creative software package Adobe. Adobe provides frequent updates and these used to take several hours to download, whereas now this task is fast and simple. All in all, superfast broadband has made every single aspect of running my small business easier."
Enabling effective flexible working
Robert’s wife Christine works full time as an Operations Manager for a student accommodation company based in England. Christine says: "IT is at the heart of our company, so if I did not have a superfast connection, I could not realistically work from home and would need to set up a separate office elsewhere. Now we have a superfast fibre connection at home, there is no problem at all and I can connect to head office via remote desktop as well as use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony. So thanks to superfast broadband, I can work just as effectively and productively from my rural home as if I were in a city office. As I enjoy being home based, it means I am getting the best of both worlds."
Robert also enjoys having fast and easy access to the network at the Lanarkshire community organisation where he is employed, which means that he can work flexibly, wherever he is and whenever he wants to, outside office hours.
Creating fresh opportunities
He says: "Superfast broadband means that work is something you can do anywhere rather than have to be in a particular location. It is changing the way we work, making us so much more productive and freeing us up from restrictions."
As well as enjoying faster broadband for work, Robert and Christine are pleased that they can now take full advantage of their Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. Robert says: "We both enjoy films and it is fabulous that we are no longer encountering frequent buffering."
Robert concludes: "Superfast broadband has opened up new horizons for us both, allowing us to work effectively from home as well as creating fresh opportunities and making a big improvement to the quality of our leisure time. Its arrival has been great news for us and others in our rural community."
Inchture Hotel is a family owned country hotel in the village of Inchture, four miles from Dundee. Owned by husband and wife team Stef and Jack Kelly-Barton since 1999, the hotel is now entering an exciting new phase in its development, thanks to superfast broadband. "The hotel has a superb position by the main road connecting Dundee to Perth. Now they can offer superfast WiFi, they can fully capitalise on the convenient location and target business and conference trade that would otherwise remain in the city."
"Residential customers, wedding guests and visitors to our restaurant and bar all now enjoy a better overall experience at the hotel"
Increased bookings from new business trade
"For businesses looking to hold meetings or conferences, the availability of superfast WiFi is a must" he adds. "Without it, I am sure we must have lost out on some bookings in the past. Now there is no stopping us. We can compete on a level playing field with all other hotels and conference centres. Since we installed fibre broadband in Spring 2016, our bookings have soared."
Reliable superfast speeds
Stef says he was delighted to be able to connect to fibre broadband. "We were on an ‘Exchange Only’ line, which meant that our telephone line connected directly to the exchange rather than to a green roadside cabinet. I was worried we may not be able to connect to fibre as I had heard that this created a big engineering challenge. We had been trying for years to improve the speed of our broadband connection, using range extenders and everything else we could think of. With sandstone walls a metre thick, range extenders had only limited impact. So I was really thrilled to hear that a solution had been found for our ‘Exchange Only’ line and we could connect to fibre broadband. We now enjoy a reliable superfast connection of 70 Mbs download and 18 Mbps upload."
Transforming the customer experience
Stef continues: "It is not only business customers that are more likely to choose Inchture Hotel now we are able to offer superfast WiFi. Residential customers, wedding guests and visitors to our restaurant and bar all now enjoy a better overall experience at the hotel. This makes us more competitive. These days, everyone is used to being on their smart phone or tablet and will often choose their leisure venue based on the quality of its connectivity. In our area, there is poor mobile telephone coverage, so it is even more important to be able to offer superfast broadband. It has been really transformational for the hotel."
Stef and Jack are also enjoying saving valuable time on everyday business operations. Stef says: "It is amazing. Quite simply, everything is quicker and easier. The time saving is enabling us to be more productive and also means that we avoid the constant annoyance of having to wait for everything to happen. For example, we regularly need to send large files to our website company in London. This can now happen almost instantly, whereas previously it sometimes took hours.
A catalyst for business growth
"Now that it is so fast to upload files, this also opens up brand new opportunities for online promotion. We can now make more use of video on our website and social media and it will be easier to find time to update our posts more frequently. This will make a difference to how effectively we can reach out to new customers as well as help us consolidate the loyalty of existing customers, keeping the hotel top of mind. Again, I have no doubt this will lead directly to business growth."
Stef concludes: "Superfast broadband has already proven itself as a catalyst for business growth at our hotel. It is radically improving the customer experience we can provide and that is helping us achieve a significantly higher level of trade. As we exploit the potential of the technology still further in future, I am looking forward to exploring exciting new opportunities and building still further on this success."
Peter Rae from Biggar is one of thousands of people across South Lanarkshire who is benefiting from fibre broadband. Having signed up to fibre broadband he has seen a significant improvement in his service, revolutionising the way in which he is able to communicate across the world, including Australia and America.
"We are able to have a clear conversation and I can see them all via webcam, crystal clear without interruption"
Living in a rural community, Peter initially thought that it would be an issue to get connected to fibre broadband. However, after visiting a Digital Scotland showcase event his online experience has improved significantly.
Like many others, Peter did not realise that the upgrades to fibre broadband are not automatic and that his service provider had to be contacted in order to upgrade to the service. Having upgraded, Peter is seeing significant improvements to the way he is able to communicate across the world.
Communication across the world
Peter’s daughter Angela and her husband Russell live close to Melbourne in Australia with their three children. Therefore, to Peter having fast internet is essential.
Peter says: "Before I signed up for fibre broadband trying to contact my daughter was particularly frustrating. It was horrendous, we couldn’t keep a constant conversation as the connection would buffer frequently. Since signing up there has been a significant improvement in the way I’m able to communicate.
"We are now able to have a clear conversation and I can see them all via webcam, crystal clear without interruption. This was particularly important to me over Christmas as - via Skype - I was able to speak to them as if they were in the room."
Peter adds: "Having fibre broadband also made a huge difference on Hogmanay this year as we broadcasted our yearly bonfire via webcam (www.biggarwebcam. co.uk). Over the years we have had viewers from all over the world watch the celebrations. This year, thanks to fibre broadband, there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the streaming."
Peter is also involved in co-writing songs. At the moment he is working with Stephanie K, a singer, who lives in New York. Peter uses multi-platforms to collaborate with Stephanie, including Broadjam where the music is uploaded.
Peter adds: "It is an amazing opportunity that I have to co-write songs with Stephanie. In order to be able to write these songs effectively we need to communicate frequently to collaborate the songs. This means that it is essential for me to have a clear and fast internet connection."
Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps* and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. 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 and get better, faster access to online services.
Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: "It’s fantastic news that the programme has been able to launch more fibre broadband and has been able to benefit many residents and businesses, like Peter, in and around South Lanarkshire.
You can check our interactive map on the Digital Scotland website www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when to find out if you can get the service. Further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.