On Friday, I visited the Laughing Ducks Soft Play in Coldstream alongside Scottish independent broadband provider, GoFibre, to discuss progress and benefits for the area.
Recent improvements mean that residents of the Borders can now benefit from world-class digital connectivity, including people in Coldstream, St Boswells and Kelso. Melrose will also soon be connected to the GoFibre network.
Fast and reliable broadband is vital to households, businesses and the public services we rely on every day. That’s why the UK Government is investing £5 billion through our transformative Project Gigabit programme, improving connectivity for harder-to-reach rural communities across the Borders.
I’m delighted to see the effects of better connectivity in Coldstream. It’s very encouraging to see operators such as GoFibre deploying solutions that will play a vital role in levelling up rural communities, helping to create and sustain jobs and to build resilient and thriving futures.
Lots of my constituents across the Borders, especially older and vulnerable people, experience isolation because of a lack of good broadband and digital services.
It was great to meet Anna and Jon from Laughing Ducks to hear about how much this broadband investment has benefitted their business and the local economy.
I heard how full fibre connectivity - considered the best type available - is helping to close the digital divide in underserved areas.
Prior to signing up with GoFibre, Laughing Ducks relied on a copper connection - a connection that was so poor they were unable to complete the day-to-day tasks necessary to run the business. With their new full fibre broadband service, the business has been able to book in and attract new customers while serving its current customers more effectively.
Full fibre networks are known for removing the disruption that ageing copper networks bring when it comes to reliability and speed. However, it is only currently available to around 41% of Scottish residents, according to figures from Ofcom.