Openreach have announced that Galashiels, Tweedbank, Selkirk, Hawick and Peebles are to benefit from faster broadband. The telecoms giant published a list of 251 locations across the UK that will get Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).
The investment will see premises that are deemed by Openreach to be some of the hardest to reach, receive faster speeds.
Work is expected to get under way in many of the announced locations within the next 12-18 months although, due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.
In the 2020 Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reiterated the UK Government’s plan to invest £5bn to provide gigabit capable broadband nationwide by 2025.
The power to legislate for telecommunications is reserved to the UK Government. However, the Scottish Government leads the practical delivery of broadband in Scotland.
The Scottish Government previously announced a pledge of 100% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2021. However, this has now been delayed until at least 2023.
John Lamont MP said: “Poor broadband and mobile signal is one of the most common causes of complaints in the Borders. This has only intensified due to more and more people working from home over the last few months.
“That’s why I am delighted that Openreach is investing in better broadband across towns in Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire. Better broadband really makes a difference to people’s lives for work and for recreation.
“I welcome the ambition of the UK and Scottish Governments in trying to improve broadband in our rural areas. However, the Scottish Government asked Westminster for the powers and funding to rollout superfast broadband, but then over promised and under delivered, leaving our remote and rural communities at a significant disadvantage.”
Cllr Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, added “I welcome BT Openreach’s investment to improve what is still often creaky broadband in some of our Border towns, it will make them even more attractive places to live, work or visit.
“Whilst positive, this will not deliver for those living in the hardest to reach areas like Openreach claim. There are still far too many rural residents and businesses who suffer from inadequate access who still have no idea when the much-delayed R100 is likely to reach them, or even if it will.
“Better connectivity, especially mobile, is vital for the Borders to thrive and it would be encouraging to see Openreach accelerate its programmes.”