faster broadband for Hawick and Kelso has been confirmed by BT as the company continues to roll out its nationwide £2.5billion investment programme, writes Bob Burgess.
The towns are included in the latest tranche of 35 Scottish locations which will provide the fibre network to an additional 9,500 homes in the Borders.
The news has been welcomed by Scottish Borders Council and local MSP John Lamont.
Mr Lamont said: “In the past we have lagged behind when it comes to broadband upgrades and I am glad that this time we have not missed out.
“However, there is still a lot to be done to provide better connectivity in the Borders. Too many communities are still without basic access to the internet and suffer from painfully-slow downloading speeds.
“BT must concentrate on providing more widespread broadband for the whole of the Borders. When it is becoming an ever-increasingly important tool for day-to-day life, many Borderers can no longer do without it.”
Around 2,000 customers aleady have access in Innerleithen, with Peebles and Galashiels already confirmed as being about to be connected, according to BT. And a spokesman said that once they, and Kelso and Hawick, were connected, the total number would be around 22,900.
Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said: “BT is helping to deliver world class broadband infrastructure across the Scottish Borders.
“Everyone recognises the importance of super-fast broadband, not just for its contribution to the local economy and potential to create new businesses and jobs, but for every aspect of modern life.”
The council’s chief executive Tracey Logan added: “In the current economic climate such an investment is to be greatly welcomed.
“But in the longer-term it is also essential that people and organisations take up this exciting technology and make the most of the new network.”
Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon commented: “I very much welcome this latest announcement. It is essential that households and businesses everywhere in Scotland have access to high-speed connectivity and fibre broadband will play a key role in enhancing our digital offering.”
The Scottish director of BT, Brendan Dick, said the latest news marked a milestone for Scotland.
He added: “It means by the end of next year, around half the households in Scotland will be able to connect to our new fibre network.
“Fibre broadband opens up a whole new, high-speed world. This latest major investment will help Hawick and Kelso to overcome the current economic challenges and take full advantage of the upturn when it comes.”
For further information visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk