LETTERS: Lothians fibre broadband roll-out is a BT priority

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High-speed fibre broadband has emerged as one of the hottest topics of recent years for communities across Edinburgh and the Lothians. Increasingly it is a “must have” technology.

Local households and businesses are using it for everything from selling products to filling in government forms, helping with education, adding to entertainment or simply staying in touch.

A great deal has already been achieved in Scotland thanks to the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership between the Scottish and UK governments, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, local authorities, BT and others.

More than 268,000 premises in Edinburgh and the Lothians can now access fibre broadband as a result of the partnership and BT’s own commercial rollout of this exciting technology.

And the number of homes and businesses able to get fibre is growing rapidly. By the end of March 2018, Scottish coverage is expected to have reached around 95 per cent.

But what about the people not yet included in any existing rollout plan and who don’t get included in the next stage of public funding?

Part of BT’s mission is to listen to those worried they’re not in any upgrade programme – and do what we can to help.

We’ve just announced our commitment to work with communities to find a fibre solution and have set up a community fibre partnership scheme to enable this. Indeed, we’ve already worked with 90 UK communities where local people have got together and pooled their funds with our contribution.

If any local community contacts us at www.openreach.co.uk/communityfibre we’ll do whatever we can to help, including co-funding options.

Householders and businesses can check the latest situation for their area by going to the Digital Scotland and Openreach superfast broadband websites.

Our job now is to make sure that the UK remains at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution by doing whatever’s possible to help the remaining five per cent of households and businesses still awaiting good news.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive, BT, Newgate Street, London

Are modern bin men losing their strength?

Councils throughout Scotland are failing to empty refuse bins because they are too heavy or the lid not fully closed or any other excuse that they can think of. Last year 16,679 bins were left uncollected.

Health and safety is always there as a fall-back position. The one that amused me was the excuse that the bins were too heavy for those big strong men who only have to take the bins a few yards to the mechanical lift.

But that woman, that elderly gentleman and that little old lady were able to get it a longer distance to the kerbside from their property.

If these men are such wimps then give these jobs to women.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Time for cyclists to reciprocate road care

As a responsible car driver, I always give due consideration to cyclists. I never pass one unless I can give them a wide berth and I never drive close to their back wheel.

As a pedestrian and a pensioner, I would like to be shown a bit of consideration by cyclists. Every day at Calder Road, I am infuriated by cyclists on the pavement and in the underpass near Napier University and Edinburgh College.

There can be 40-50 pedestrians using the underpass at one time and still very few cyclists dismount.

I have tried to point out, politely, that they are cycling in pedestrian areas but they either ignore me or I get a nasty mouthful. Only once in the last two or three years did one young lady apologise and dismount. Before anyone replies to this, thinking I have a hatred of cyclists – not true. I have a bike myself but only ride it along the Union Canal as I would be too scared to go on the roads.

I know there are bad drivers. I also know that there are responsible cyclists. There are some who even stop at red lights.

I appeal to the inconsiderate cyclists – it’s not so much ‘On yer bike’, in this case it’s ‘Aff yer bike’.

Helen Cairns, Calder Road, Edinburgh

Lib Dems have enough problems of their own

If Alex Cole-Hamilton is seeking the support of voters in the West of Edinburgh for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election it may serve him better if he showed the electorate a better knowledge of parliamentary procedure.

In the Evening News of October 1 (‘Calls for speedy resolution of Thomson probe’) he stated that because the current MP for Edinburgh West has withdrawn herself from the SNP whip at Westminster, the citizens of her constituency have been disenfranchised in the House of Commons.

This is patently not true, as any politician elected to any parliament within the UK continues to represent their constituents irrespective of their relationship with a political party.

I would have thought that the challenges facing his colleague, the MP for Orkney & Shetland, would have made Alex Cole-Hamilton think carefully before making erroneous comments about another politician.

Angus J Stewart, Echline Drive, South Queensferry