Superfast broadband project raises £21m

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A TOTAL of £21 million has been committed to providing superfast broadband across southern Scotland, Scottish Borders Council’s contribution being £8.4 million.

“Access to a good broadband infrastructure is vital for both local businesses and communities,” said leader of SBC, Councillor David Parker.

“I’m pleased that SBC is able to contribute £8.4 million towards the rollout of next generation broadband, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with our South of Scotland partners.”

The £21 million for the broadband project across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway will be managed by the South of Scotland Alliance (SoSA).

The project is part of the Scottish Government’s National Infrastructure Plan to develop a world class digital infrastructure by 2020, with an interim milestone of achieving a significant increase in speeds by 2015.

But while the £21 million will go a long way to allowing faster broadband across southern Scotland it is not enough to cover 100 per cent of the region.

The project team, working in partnership with Scottish Government and NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Borders, is making the case for the rollout to reach more remote areas first, based on the level of interest.

Individuals, community groups and businesses can register their interest on the South of Scotland website: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SOSBroadbandRegistration. This will help to show the demand. Anyone unable to complete the online survey can contact the project manager on 01387 245223, to be included.

The final 10-15% of the area could potentially get help from Community Broadband Scotland.

“It is welcome news that Borders Council is to provide this money to what is a very worthwhile project,” said Berwickshire MSP John Lamont. “If you speak to anyone who lives in a remote area of the Borders they will tell you what a struggle it is to get a decent and reliable broadband connection.

“However, if we are to really see an end to the disadvantage faced by the more rural areas of the Borders then much more work still needs to be done. With many residents also experiencing poor mobile coverage we must always continue to work to improve connectivity.”