Established in 2009 and based in the heart of rural central Scotland, near the small town of Dunblane, Bonnie Tartan specialises in producing the finest tartan hosiery, kilts and Scottish Highland Outfits. They are manufactured in the company workshop which has a retail shop for customers’ appointments and fittings. For international customers – in Europe, South America, USA and as far away as Asia Pacific – the team of seven staff use video call technology to ensure that bespoke garments can be visually checked.
Being situated in a slight hollow and 2km away from the nearest cabinet, the company had a poor mobile phone connection and broadband was never more than 6 megabits per second (Mbps) and this impacted significantly on sales.
Business co-owner, David Middleton said: “The majority of our business is e-commerce, taking place on-line through our website so we are reliant on the internet with over 50% of our sales from international customers – mainly expatriate Scots – and we use video to discuss their specific requirements.”
When David read an article about Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership scheme he formed a community group with another business and a group of local residents. They were able to fund the cost of broadband installation from the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and Stirling Council’s Community Infrastructure project.
David continued: “In the end we were fortunate to be eligible for a Gigabit Broadband Voucher to the tune of £3,500 for each business and a one-off grant from Stirling Council of £8,750. The remaining £1,500 was donated by the two businesses and we’re absolutely thrilled that the wider community is benefiting. We are now enjoying download speeds of 300Mbps and upload speeds of 45Mbps. This has exceeded all expectations and is actually more than we need. However, we are future-proofed for business expansion. We pay a slightly higher monthly charge for our business broadband account with BT but this is off-set by convenience.”