Former nuclear bunker prepares to welcome virtual visitors after fibre hook-up

Barnton Quarry Nuclear Bunker in Edinburgh has recently undergone a significant refurbishment programme. The tourist site, in the Clermiston area of the city, had been preparing to open to the public after a dedicated team of volunteers spent the last nine years renovating the facility.

Owner, Scotscrown Ltd, has worked with the volunteers to transform the 30,000 sq. ft. site, which was ravaged by fire in 1993 more than 10 years after it was decommissioned.

However, plans to open the site this summer have been delayed due to COVID-19, and so its owners have laid the groundwork for hosting virtual tours in the coming months thanks to a new full fibre broadband connection.

Powered by CityFibre, the site now boasts state-of-the-art full fibre connectivity. The connection, installed by strategic partner 2 Circles, will allow Barnton Quarry to not only host virtual tours to a global audience, but it will also be available to local schools through virtual learning tools and augmented reality; all whilst underpinning a new security and CCTV system.

CityFibre is currently building a city-wide full fibre network across Edinburgh which will deliver significant benefits to communities. The company is investing more than £100m to deliver the project, putting next-generation full fibre connectivity in the reach of many homes and businesses. Hundreds of public sector sites, including schools and council offices, have already benefited from access to CityFibre’s full fibre network for a number of years.

The proprietor of the site is aiming to welcome 100,000 guests when it officially opens next year. He is also a part-owner of Scotland’s Secret Bunker in Fife, which has seen its tourist experience transformed due to a full fibre connection. He says digital connectivity is key to them realising their ambitions in Clermiston.

Part owner and site manager, Martyn Dawson commented: “When RAF Barnton Quarry was built in 1952 the government could have only dreamed of such a service that CityFibre has provided us. We are excited with the interactive learning opportunities the service will enable us to bring to our guests, once we have finished the restoration. Until then our new service will allow monitored CCTV to keep the complex safe.”

Elaine Doherty, CityFibre’s City Manager for Edinburgh, added: “Barnton Quarry is a site of national importance and its owners have huge plans to make it an attraction for locals and visitors that all of Edinburgh can be proud of. While it may initially seem strange for a Cold War bunker to need a cutting-edge Full Fibre connection, the reality is that fast, reliable internet is so important for businesses, particularly visitor attractions looking to capture the imaginations of a global audience.

“We’re thrilled that after plenty of hard work and no shortage of ingenuity, our team and partners have been able to get the site connected and we look forward to locals and visitors experiencing this unique offering for themselves, albeit virtually to begin with.

“Edinburgh was one of the first cities to form part of our Gigabit City Investment Programme and so it’s exciting to see futureproof digital connectivity coming to life delivering reliable Gigabit connectivity for homes and businesses.”

Jamie Dalrymple, Senior Communications Consultant at 2 Circles, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this project. Delivering state-of-the-art connectivity to such a unique venue has helped open the doors of possibility to make this a truly unforgettable visitor attraction.”

To find out more about CityFibre’s Gigabit City vision for Edinburgh, visit: https://www.cityfibre.com/gigabit-cities/ or https://wholesale.cityfibre.com/ and to register your interest go to https://www.cityfibre.com/residential/