Internet service getting worse, not any better, say Southdean residents

Southdean Community Council is renewing calls for improved wifi for the area.
Southdean Community Council is renewing calls for improved wifi for the area.

Southdean residents have taken their fight for improved broadband all the way to Westminster.

Members of its community council have written to the UK Government’s Scottish affairs committee, currently conducting an inquiry into digital connectivity in Scotland, to call for action.

It comes after claims that their already poor service has deteriorated drastically over the past six months, leaving some residents needing to travel into town to pick up wifi.

Chesters resident and Southdean community councillor Caroline Smith, said: “In discussion with my neighbours, there is a real feeling of anger, and some houses are affected worse than others.

“Poor broadband has been on the community council agenda for many months, but things have seriously deteriorated recently.

“I fear that we are at the very end of the chain for improved broadband provision, and, in fact, we are experiencing a far worse service than we had even six months ago.”

Mrs Smith says the problem has left residents unable to use the internet for banking, shopping and taxing vehicles, and even their wireless printers have become “intermittently useless”.

She has raised the issue with Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont.

“We visit people, or drive into town to access cafes with free wi-fi, just to do what other people take for granted, and yet we pay the same as everyone with a good service,” she added. “We get no warning that the signal will be interrupted.

“Recreational internet use is often more trouble than it’s worth.

“There is obviously a problem specific to our area at the moment which is being neither acknowledged nor dealt with. We do not know what else to do.”

Mr Lamont, co-chairman of a Parliamentary group put together to look at broadband and digital communications across the country, said: “I’ve had numerous letters about poor broadband in Southdean over the past few months, and the situation is not improving.

“BT are looking at expanding superfast broadband into parts of the area this year but have failed to provide any specific details or a firm timetable.

“Businesses and residents in Southdean are paying the same as everyone else for a very poor service.

“Borderers deserve better, and improving broadband in rural areas remains one of my priorities as an MP.

“I’ve written to BT to demand an update on the situation.”