MORE than 4,000 homes and businesses in Kelso have become the first in the Borders to benefit from the roll-out of BT’s next generation broadband service.
Kelso now has access to faster internet connections and Peebles is also earmarked for an upgrade in the coming months.
BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said it was an important step for the town and would benefit businesses and families in the area.
The upgrade makes available broadband speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) - more than double the maximum speeds previously available to most UK homes and businesses.
“By next spring, almost 1.4 million Scottish homes and businesses will be served by an exchange that has been upgraded to deliver these higher speeds,” said Mr Dick.
The investment in the “copper network” is in addition to the £2.5bn BT roll-out of superfast broadband, which is expected to bring even higher speeds to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2015.
Lines served by the Kelso exchange will be covered, as will BT subscribers in Sprouston and some of those in Ednam, where customers are split between the exchanges at Kelso and Stichill.
Kelso’s MSP John Lamont has welcomed news that the town is the first in the region to benefit from the roll-out of BT’s next generation broadband services.
“This announcement is welcome news for residents in Kelso,” said Mr Lamont. “The focus in the past has often been on improving internet speeds for those in the big cities and the central belt but I am pleased that this development will benefit Kelso.
“This will provide a significant boost for businesses in the town, in an age when firms are increasingly reliant on internet access to develop their business.
“However, there are still far too many communities in the Borders for whom any type of broadband access is a long way off, let along access to superfast next generation broadband.”
Local MP Michael Moore called it “fantastic news” for residents of Kelso. “Broadband has become an essential tool for businesses and individuals in the Borders and the poor service we receive is hugely frustrating,” he told TheSouthern.
“This service upgrade to Kelso will provide a huge boost to local people and I look forward to seeing similar upgrades across all the Borders.
“For too long, rural areas like the Borders have been left behind on digital improvements and I am working with Scottish Borders Council as they bid for funding from the UK and Scottish Governments and the private sector, to bring super-fast broadband to the whole region.”