Current fibre deployments in Scotland could be at risk of leaving rural communities behind, said the operator

Lothian Broadband is an established broadband infrastructure provider to rural and semi-rural communities across Scotland. The company operates extensive fixed wireless networks and, following the recent deployment of its first fibre village, is now planning to accelerate growth through large-scale investment in fibre infrastructure.

Ensuring that broadband connectivity in Scotland’s small towns, rural and semi-rural communities keeps pace with service in cities is essential for the productivity of businesses and homeworkers. Fibre deployment efforts in Scotland are focussed on Scotland’s urban centres with government intervention targeting extreme-rural communities – this risks leaving several hundred thousand homes without fibre. Lothian Broadband plans to target this ‘fibre gap’ starting with the 50,000 homes in communities where the company already has a presence.

In preparation for this next phase of growth and after five years of guiding the company, founding Chairman Patrick Flockhart is stepping down to be replaced by existing non-executive Director Kevin Hague. Scott Coates will also join the board as a non-executive Director, replacing another of the founding directors, David Walls.

Kevin Hague has been a non-executive Director with Lothian Broadband since 2019 and has extensive experience of leading fast-growth consumer-facing businesses. Scott Coates has worked with a number of digital infrastructure scale-ups and he led Lothian Broadband’s last funding round. Scott is founder and CEO of Wireless Infrastructure Group.

“The team at Lothian Broadband have done a great job of growing the business and building a trusted, local brand," said Patrick Flockhart, outgoing Chairman. "As a committed investor in the business, I believe these board changes will accelerate the next stage of growth in Lothian, ensuring it has the right strategy and leadership in place to take it to the next level.” 

The incoming chairman, Kevin Hague said: “Lothian Broadband has a unique opportunity to target Scotland’s fibre gap with high quality infrastructure bringing much needed connectivity to communities across Scotland. I’m hugely grateful to Patrick for the opportunity to guide Lothian Broadband through what promises to be an exciting phase of the company’s development."

"Delivering rapid growth in any business is a challenge, particularly when it comes to managing the culture of the organisation, ensuring systems and processes are scalable and protecting the integrity of the brand. Knowing the quality and ambition of the management team we already have in place, I am confident that Lothian Broadband is well positioned to meet these challenges while taking advantage of the large market opportunity we see before us.”

How can operators ensure rural communities keep the pace with cities when it comes to broadband connectivity? Find out from the experts at this year’s Connected Britain conference

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