A £600m investment in faster broadband

editorial image

An extra £600m is being spent by the Scottish Government to deliver superfast broadband speeds to 100% of the country’s homes and businesses by the end of 2021.

Although 93.8% of Borders premises are expected to be connected to upgraded Superfast Broadband infrastructure, some will not be able to take advantage of new services because they are too far from a superfast cabinet.

The Scottish Government estimates that 87% of premises in the Borders will receive fibre coverage that delivers 24Mbps or faster connections speeds and £133 million of their £600m Reaching 100 programme will be spent in the south - mainly the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

During the current Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme more than 130 new superfast broadband cabinets and exchange upgrades have been delivered, connecting over 31,800 premises in the Scottish Borders.

A report before Scottish Borders Council’s executive this week states: “Any home or business that will not have superfast broadband delivered commercially, through DSSB, or other publicly funded projects, will be eligible for investment through the programme.”

In order to deliver 100% superfast coverage the Scottish Government has acknowledged that it will need to make use of a range of technologies: fibre, wireless, 4G and high speed satellite.

Scottish Borders councillors were told: “It is considered that satellite technology will provide a suboptimal and non-future proofed solution for customers.

“Using technology such as this will inevitably require further upgrading in future, as digital needs and demands require greater bandwidth and full-fibre solutions. The choice of technology should strongly favour the use of fibre wherever possible.”

SBC will contact the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity to raise concerns about delays being experienced by local groups with Community Broadband Scotland. The council also wants to see the South of Scotland Economic Partnership and South of Scotland Alliance make uptake of digital services a priority.

Borders MP John Lamont said: “In Scotland we are still lagging too far behind and we also know that many properties which are meant to be connected, still can’t get superfast broadband.

“The Borders is particularly struggling, with nearly one in five properties still without a decent service. This is simply not good enough and the SNP’s failure to deliver is holding Scottish businesses back and is unfair for consumers.”