A new report from consumer watchdog Which? has found that nearly half of all homes in the Borders are getting broadband speeds below the legal minimum which is due to come in to force next year.
The UK Government has legislated to give all households a legal right to request a decent broadband connection, currently defined as one of at least 10 mb/s.
However, according to Which? Consumer Insight Report 2019, following 541 broadband speed checks carried out in the Scottish Borders, only 51% of homes are currently getting speeds above this legal limit. Only six other constituencies in Scotland (Banff & Buchan, Dumfries & Galloway, Argyll & Bute, Moray and Orkney & Shetland) have worse broadband.
Scotland wide, analysis of 20,780 users through its speed-checker shows that some 39% fell short of the 10 mb/s threshold.
While the Scottish Government have pointed out that these tests do not take in to account the availability of superfast broadband, these tests are thought to better reflect people’s experience.
The news comes after the Scottish Government’s R100 programme, which is meant to connect harder to reach places in Scotland remains on hold. When first announced in 2017, the Scottish Government said that contracts would be awarded for R100 in 2018. This was then pushed back to March 2019, yet contracts have still not been awarded.
Commenting local MP, John Lamont said: “These figures are a stark reminder of how much work still needs to be done to improve broadband speeds in the Scottish Borders. It is completely unacceptable that barely a half of homes in the Borders are getting decent broadband speeds, while in some areas the figures is as high as 79%.
“Because of the way in which the Scottish Government designed their superfast broadband roll out, providers inevitably connected the easier to reach properties in the central belt, leaving places like the Borders behind.
“And the Scottish Government’s much hyped R100 programme has yet to get off the ground and is already several months late.
“The UK Government has legislated to give everyone a legal right to a decent broadband speed and these figures suggest that this could benefit as many as half of all homes in the Scottish Borders.
“Borderers cannot wait for the Scottish Government to get its act together, residents and businesses need decent connectivity sooner rather than later.”