Lamont criticises R100 broadband project timescale

Checking out new full-fibre equipment are (left to right) Grant Forsyth, trainee engineer Toni Aprile, MSP John Lamont, and Openreach's Stewart Williamson, Brendan Dick and Steve Wood.
Checking out new full-fibre equipment are (left to right) Grant Forsyth, trainee engineer Toni Aprile, MSP John Lamont, and Openreach's Stewart Williamson, Brendan Dick and Steve Wood.

The Scottish Government’s R100 broadband programme, which aims to connect harder to reach parts of the country, has run into delays and contracts have not been awarded yet.

Borders MP John Lamont wrote to the Scottish Government to clarify whether the final bids had been received and when contracts would be awarded, to be told that the bidding process was still ongoing and contracts would be awarded at some time in 2019.

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy and Connectivity responded: “The procurement process for R100 is now well underway and I can confirm that we have three highly credible bidders currently engaged in dialogue. I will of course advise the Scottish Parliament first when we are in a position to award the contract, but I can confirm that this is anticipated during 2019.

Mr Lamont said: “Since it was announced, the R100 programme has been touted as the solution for everyone in the Borders who has an issue with their broadband. Now we learn the project hasn’t even started, is months behind schedule and that no money has been actually set aside for it yet.”

Shadowing Openreach engineers recently to see the progress of high-speed broadband locally Mr Lamont heard about the next generation of technology – future-proof, ‘full-fibre’ services capable of carrying speeds up to 1Gbps - and how Openreach is working with local housebuilders to install full-fibre technology into housing developments in Duns and Eyemouth.