Next Generation Broadband project is making progress

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Major investment in a modern telecommunications infrastructure for the South of Scotland is taking a step forward.

Gavin Stevenson, chief executive of Dumfries and Galloway Council, is project executive of the South of Scotland Next Generation Broadband project. He said: “Public services across the South of Scotland are working together on a submission to secure national funding to revolutionise broadband connectivity across the region. This is a shared priority of all partners and strongly supported by the private sector.”

Tracey Logan, acting chief executive of Scottish Borders Council and member of the Project Board, said; “At the rate of technological development, we absolutely cannot underestimate the importance of ensuring we can secure Next Generation Broadband services for the South of Scotland. This investment will enable us to provide essential services to our rural communities.”

Alasdair Hutton, joint chairman of the South of Scotland Alliance and convener of Scottish Borders Council, added: “Without this project, Next Generation Broadband Services will be delivered to a very small percentage of the population in the South of Scotland, which makes it the single most important infrastructure project across our region.”

Reports will be presented simultaneously to both Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway councils on August 25 to allow them to consider the financial implications of the project to each council.

Major telecommunications companies are rolling out Next Generation Broadband services, often referred to as superfast broadband, around the UK, with half of the UK population having access to services today and 66 per cent expected to have access by 2015. But the reality for the South of Scotland is that less than a quarter of our population is likely to be covered by this rollout, creating a digital divide. The South of Scotland Alliance wants to see that gap filled and is preparing a submission to the Scottish Government to secure funding towards providing Next Generation Broadband for our region.