Souters will be up to speed with broadband

NEWS that Selkirk is one of the next 47 Scottish communities which will benefit from faster broadband services has been welcomed in the royal burgh, writes Mark Entwistle.

Communications giant BT has just announced that around 11,000 homes and businesses in Selkirk and Hawick will have access to faster broadband by next summer. The two Borders towns are included in the latest roll-out plans for BT’s next generation broadband service which will more than double the maximum speeds previously available to local homes and businesses.

This investment is in addition to BT’s ongoing £2.5billion United Kingdom roll-out of super-fast, fibre-based broadband, which is expected to bring even quicker speeds to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

The news that Selkirk was one of the towns next in line for faster broadband was greeted as a real boost at a time when the general economy is struggling.

Local chamber of trade chairman Gordon Edgar said anything which helped local business is to be welcomed.

Mr Edgar added: “It’s excellent news for us. Businesses have to have access to every tool in the box just now to help them survive and give them a competitive edge. It will be equally welcome in the more rural areas such as the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys.”

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said the roll-out of faster broadband across Scotland is gathering pace.

He added: “Nobody is doing more than BT to roll out faster broadband across Scotland.

“At a time of economic uncertainty these major improvements will provide a big boost for many Borders businesses and offer many additional educational and entertainment opportunities for local households.

“And we want to go further. We want to work with the public sector to find ways of bringing faster broadband to areas which are geographically and commercially more challenging.”

Duncan Nisbet, project director for South of Scotland Next Generation Broadband, said the move will give Souters access to online services at comparable speeds and cost to the urban areas of Scotland.

He said: “This latest announcement from BT to upgrade a further three exchanges in the south of Scotland is a real boost to the businesses and residents of Hawick, Selkirk and Stranraer.” .

“Although utilising the existing copper infrastructure, this is a step change towards our overall ambition following the recent announcements for fibre-to-the-cabinet exchange upgrades in Dumfries, Peebles, Innerleithen and Galashiels.” added Mr Nisbet.