Borders’ mobile phone coverage gaps highlighted at executive meeting

Hawick councillor Davie Paterson highlighting problems with mobile phone signals near the town and Newcastleton.
Hawick councillor Davie Paterson highlighting problems with mobile phone signals near the town and Newcastleton.

Poor mobile phone coverage in parts of Hawick and beyond was raised at the latest meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee.

The issue was highlighted by Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson.

He identified particular problems in more rural areas of his ward, particularly at Newcastleton.

Mr Paterson said: “There is some really poor coverage in parts of the ward.

“Myself and other councillors regularly get it in the neck about the poor coverage from constituents, and it is almost certainly having a detrimental effect on business start-ups in the most rural areas we represent, like Newcastleton.”

Townsfolk at Newcastleton are tackling the problem of poor phone coverage themselves in the meanwhile.

Newcastleton Community Trust calculates that only 10% of its geographical catchment has mobile coverage.

A spokesman said: “More and more of our day-to-day tasks rely on mobile technology. Those who cannot access mobile are being penalised for having to use traditional methods to manage their businesses and lifestyles.

“We are encouraged by the recent announcement for the new emergency services contracts for police, ambulance and fire service, which will mean new masts can host commercial platforms within not-spot areas.

“When this happens in December of this year, our hope is that mobile cover will be delivered throughout the area via a commercial operator, and all households and businesses will have access.”

In addition, the trust is establishing a connectivity hub at the heart of the village.

It is designed to be a place where people can go and plug in their laptops to gain access to superfast broadband.

The spokesman added: “Depending on usage, the facility will be free to anyone, enabling access to superfast broadband to all.

“Yes, you will need to visit the hub, but you will get online, it will be fast and will be an unbroken connection.”