LETTERS: Wireless broadband reaches parts BT miss

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Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, described the very welcome roll-out of Superfast Broadband in Scotland (Letters, 
October 7).

Great news. As he points out, we are all now totally reliant on broadband for a wide range of essential services. We are moving relentlessly towards a future where this will be ever more the case. Broadband is the fourth “utility” and BT plays a vital role in providing essential network backbone.

Those premises that will benefit from BT’s fibre “superfast” speeds are fortunate, but there are, for example, some 50,000 premises in East Lothian with plans to build 10,000 more. It looks as if 17,000 current residents may not benefit from a faster broadband service, including many small businesses.

Figures published recently by Audit Scotland suggest that this figure nationally may be around 30 per cent of all premises. Other independent academic research is even more 
pessimistic.

The fact is that some rural communities will be left out in the cold. They will not be upgraded to fibre. Although fibre may be installed in local exchanges or street cabinets, if a household is a distance away or the copper line connecting it to the fibre is in poor condition, then there will be no improvement to service. Indeed, ironically it may even get worse.

Lothian Broadband Networks Limited has a long experience of delivering fast broadband to rural East Lothian. We have recently constructed a wireless mast on Barney Hill above Haddington, from where we can ‘see’ most of the county. Our wireless broadband network covers over 100 square kilometres of the county and we are expanding fast.

Wireless is the cheapest and best alternative to fibre and offers comparable speeds and reliability to end users. Services include telephony.

Communities, businesses and individuals who are unhappy with their current quality of service can contact us at www.lothianbroadband.com.

David Walls, director, Lothian Broadband Networks Limited

Royal High hotel not only game in town

Graham Birse, director of the Edinburgh Institute at Napier University and a board member of Marketing Edinburgh says: “Personally I think the Royal High School project (ie, hotel project) is fantastic and the only realistic solution on the table that will reverse the scandalous decay of a 
fabulous building’, (Platform, October 19).

I have to agree that there has been a scandalous decay of a fabulous building. However, Mr Birse has got his facts totally wrong when he says that the hotel plan is the only realistic solution on the table that will reverse the decay.

Should this planning application be refused there is an alternative “realistic solution”, of which no doubt Mr Birse is aware.

Why he should choose to ignore the benefits of it is a question only he can answer. The alternative solution, as publicised in this newspaper over several weeks with much editorial comment, has been that of the suggested occupation of the Royal High School by St Mary’s Music School.

This is a fully funded commitment to restore the building. This proposal would benefit local and international young musicians and make the school available for the citizens of Edinburgh.

If Mr Birse is not aware of the alternative realistic solution, then I suggest he subscribes to the Evening News in order to keep abreast of events.

Edinburgh may well benefit from a hotel of this calibre, but not on this site.

David Campbell, Saughton Grove, Edinburgh

SNP library claim hides real providers

A leaflet from the SNP has reached me. It claims that its Scottish Government delivered the Drumbrae Library Hub on time and on budget. I take issue with this 
assertion.

My clear recollection is that the provision of a library for the Drumbrae area had long been a Liberal Democrat manifesto promise. It was delivered, augmented into the whole hub concept and in full by the Liberal Democrat-led administration on the city council between 2007 and 2012.

Phil Wheeler, Liberal Democrat councillor 2001-2012, Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Government needs to enforce hunting ban

Fox hunting is banned in Scotland, yet over the weekend hunts will have been riding out with full packs of dogs at their heels in search for foxes to kill.

The start of November marks the beginning of the full hunting season, almost 13 years after the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 was implemented in February 2003.

Back then, there were ten operational mounted fox hunts in Scotland. There are still ten today and there have been no successful prosecutions of mounted hunts under the Act.

In effect, loopholes in the law mean very little has changed over the years and hunts are continuing to hunt much the same as they did before the legislation was implemented.

Not only is this resulting in unnecessary animal suffering, it is undermining the Scottish Parliament and the majority of the public who supported a ban.

The Scottish Government recently committed to reviewing the legislation and we would like to see this carried out as an urgent priority. The time has come for a speedy and determined review of the legislation so that the law finally does what it was intended to do: ban fox hunting.

Harry Huyton, director, OneKind