The Scottish Borders is set to benefit from a whole host of new mobile masts coming online over the next two years.
The Extended Area Services masts are part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) for use by police, ambulance and fire service, and is funded by the UK Government.
However, for the first time, as part of the UK Government’s Shared Rural Network, mobile network operators will be able to provide a commercial service through the ESN.
Four such sites are due to go live by the end of the year, including sites at Milsington Farm and Berryfell Farm, both near Hawick, Swindon Hill near Kelso, and Ellemford in the Lammermuirs.
There are then 14 sites due to go live during 2023, and 2 further sites in early 2024.
One of the masts has already been completed at Whitropefoot near Newcastleton.
In Scotland, the Shared Rural Network will see 4G coverage from all four operators rise to a minimum of 74%, up from 44%, and coverage from at least one operator increase to 91%, allowing rural business to prosper and rural communities to thrive.
The transmission solution contract to connect the masts to the core network is about to be awarded and will be announced in due course.
John Lamont MP said:
“As an MP for a large rural constituency I am well aware of the frustrations caused by poor mobile coverage. We should not be left behind simply because we live in a rural area.
“It is encouraging to see progress on the Emergency Services Network in the Borders which will now also be used by commercial services as well, meaning better connectivity for everyone.
“These 21 new masts will really help to rid us of not-spots and patchy coverage right across our area.
“For most of us, being connected to the internet on our phones and other devices is an essential part of everyday life now.”