A SCOTTISH digital connectivity specialist has hailed its “strong pipeline” of work as it booked a £1 million leap in profits in its most recent financial year.

Edinburgh-based Commsworld reported a pre-tax profit of £3.3m for the year December 31, 2022, as it reaped the benefit of major public sector contracts such as delivering connectivity throughout Glasgow city centre. Turnover leapt by £5.2m to £27.9m.

And the company, which employs around 140 people, declared its momentum has continued into its current financial year with high-profile contracts to support the UCI World Cycling Championship and TRNSMT music festival in Glasgow in the summer.

Commsworld has built up a strong reputation for its work with major councils such as Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, and Northumberland, which has seen it roll out digital connectivity for public sector sites over increasingly large areas.

This has grown alongside its burgeoning involvement in the private sector, as the firm provides “critical business” services to the likes of law firms, car giant Arnold Clark, Edinburgh Airport and software firm the Access Group.

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Bruce Strang, telecommunications veteran and the firm’s chief operating officer, told The Herald: “It is going very well both in the public and private sector. We have picked up a lot of net new business and also, we are in the process of delivering some major programmes of activity.

“[We are] well established in and around Glasgow and in North Lanarkshire we are currently just about finished delivering 350km of fibre there. And in Northumberland we have started to build from Berwick right down towards Newcastle, and that’s about another 270km. As well as being successful in winning new business, we are also delivering big programmes of activity at the same time.”

He added: “We are seeing a strong pipeline of activity, so it is going very well.”

Mr Strang's 40-year career in communications began as a telephone engineer at GEC before roles with Mercury Communications, Scottish Telecom (which became Thus and then Cable & Wireless), Capita and City of Edinburgh Council.

He said it had been gratifying to witness how the Commsworld team had risen to the challenge of providing connectivity to the 11-day UCI Cycling World Championships in the summer.

The contract involved supplying a wide area network capable of delivering sufficient bandwidth to facilitate global television broadcasts and the online streaming of events which were taking place in locations such as Glasgow, Glentress in the Scottish Borders, and Fort William.

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Mr Strang, who joined Commsworld six years ago, said the contract was a significant step up from its previous events experience of providing connectivity to just one or two locations.

“The profile of that activity galvanised our business as well,” he said. “We knew the scale of it. You also recognise that if things go wrong, how do you deal with it? But actually because of the planning activity, nothing went wrong. What I am really proud of is, Commsworld as an organisation lives by our people, and they did a phenomenal job through that.”

He added: “We would be keen to do more events. We have got established connectivity now in a lot of the locations that we have delivered services to, but equally, in the likes of North Lanarkshire, we are also delivering services into the parks there, because they are linked to events at Strathclyde. Similarly, in Northumberland, getting close to events so that things like festivals [can take place]. We are really keen to do more events.”

Commsworld’s work with Glasgow City Council has seen it deliver “high-capacity fibre services” to 525 sites, such as schools and local authority premises. It is also working with the city on the connectivity underpinning its CCTV locations and traffic lights, which involves delivering fibre to around 600 locations.

Mr Strang said: “What we are doing through this fibre infrastructure build is effectively putting in the fibre coverage which allows other services, and those services could be anything from IoT (internet of things) to potentially 5G neutral host, and accelerate 5G into the town and so on.

“It actually makes the future opportunity limitless to a certain extent because it is really down to the imagination. Once you have that level of capacity it really is the building block and then it is down to other people to identify the most appropriate use cases for that.”

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Meanwhile, Commsworld is moving into the second year of a 15-year contract with North Lanarkshire Council. It has also secured long-term deals with local authorities Northumberland (20 years), and the Scottish Borders, which expires in 2042.

Mr Strang said: “From a public sector perspective we are really strong in and around Scotland and [we are] now starting to build into the north of England.

“Our strategy is not to be seen as just a Scottish-based organisation. We have got a UK-wide network. We have got customers spread throughout the entirety of the UK and we want to replicate the model which we think has been successful in Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire, [the] Borders, Renfrewshire and now Northumberland throughout the country.”

He added: “Equally, in the private sector, we have got some very strong customer relationships out there as well. We are not just seen as a long-term public sector [service provider].”