Birgham and Greenlaw are among the seven Borders communities included in the next stage of the £410 million Digital Scotland superfast broadband rollout.
Last month more than 1,300 homes and businesses in and around Leitholm and Coldstream were able to connect to fibre broadband making it 16,000 Scottish Borders premises able to access fibre broadband because of the programme.
Local MSP John Lamont said: “This investment is good news for the Scottish Borders and is one step closer to the target of superfast broadband for everyone in Scotland.
“But too many people in the Borders remain without an acceptable internet connection. The Borders risks getting left behind by a current lack of decent broadband.
“If you’re a young entrepreneur living in the Borders with a great idea for a new start-up tech business, you shouldn’t have to go to the city to get a decent internet connection. And residents who are paying the same price as everyone else, shouldn’t have to put up with a poor service.”
“More needs to be done, and that is why my party is calling for an expansion of the rural broadband fund to allow individuals and businesses to access funding.”
The Digital Scotland rollout has passed more than 394,000 premises since it started last year. It means the project is more than half way to its target of making the technology available to 750,000 properties by the end of March 2018.
Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time and more quickly. As the higher speeds (up to 80Mbps*) become available, anyone interested in signing up for fibre-based services should contact their broadband service provider.
Scottish Government Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is fantastic news that a further 73,000 homes and businesses will be able to receive fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. Every day we are continuing to build on our digital infrastructure –supporting the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver first-rate connectivity in Scotland by 2020, ensuring we are a world class digital nation.
“By reaching out to those communities who would not have been covered by the commercial market – in towns and into some of our most rural areas – we are ensuring that the connections which are made will bring many benefits to the Scottish people both at home and in business.”
A number of premises in the region are currently served by ‘Exchange Only’ lines which run directly from the exchange to the premises – bypassing the usual road-side cabinets which are integral to the fibre rollout. Engineers from Openreach will rearrange the existing network and lay new cables to reroute lines through extra road-side cabinets to overcome this challenge.
Appreciating how important access to high-speed internet technology is to both residents and businesses Scottish Borders Council has invested £8.4 million into the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to their contribution to block funding from all Scottish local authorities.