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More fast broadband goes live in Scottish Borders thanks to Digital Scotland

Tuesday 2nd July 2019


More households and businesses across the Scottish Borders can now upgrade to faster fibre broadband through the £442 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) rollout.

Across Scotland, thanks to the programme, more than 930,000 premises are able to connect to the new network, which has now arrived in Birgham and Heriot for the first time. Other areas where more fibre broadband is now available include Broughton, Chirnside, Hawick, Morebattle, Oxton and Yetholm.

Some of the new premises to be reached in Heriot are connected to a full fibre network (also known as Fibre-to-the-Premises or FTTP) which provides ultrafast[1] broadband directly into local homes. Full fibre through the programme is also now available to some homes in Coldingham for the first time, with more households able to benefit in parts of Ashkirk, Bonchester Bridge, Blainslie, Camptown, Duns, Leitholm, Roxburgh and West Linton.

They are among more than 37,500 homes and businesses across Scottish Borders which are now able to connect to the Digital Scotland network as engineers from Openreach continue work on the ground during 2019/20. Across the country nearly 5,000 new fibre street cabinets are now live and more than 12,000km of cable has been laid.

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at a range of speeds1 and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. Local people can check if the new fibre services are available to them at www.scotlandsuperfast.com/yourstreet.

Research has suggested that every public pound invested in fibre broadband in Scotland is delivering almost £12 of benefits to the Scottish economy. The independent report commissioned by DSSB and undertaken by consultants Analysys Mason estimates the total benefit from investment as £2.76 billion over 15 years.

Delivered through two projects - led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in its area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland - funding partners also include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund.

Thanks to additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up, the rollout will continue in every local authority area during 2019 and into 2020, complementing ongoing commercial build across Scotland. More than 50 per cent of properties reached by the programme have switched to fibre broadband.

Sara Budge, Director of the DSSB programme, said: "Local people need to sign up for the new, faster services with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.

"The difference having fibre broadband can make is amazing. Many local people are already taking advantage of the faster speeds now available and we'd urge others to consider the benefits of a move to a fibre service.

"There's lots of competition out there and people may find they could be surfing at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service."

BT Group has contributed £146 million to the project, with engineers from digital network business Openreach building the network on the ground.

Robert Thorburn, Partnership Director for Openreach in Scotland, said: "We're working hard to bring better broadband to as many people as possible, going much further than expected after beating original targets. Across Scotland, an extra 60,000 premises will benefit.

"Our engineers are now reaching increasingly remote communities as well as boosting coverage across the Scottish Borders. The arrival of high-speed broadband in places like Birgham is life changing for residents and businesses, and the use of full fibre where it's the best solution, in places like Bonchester Bridge and Leitholm, puts those households ahead of the curve for years to come.

Residents need to sign up for a service with their chosen provider as upgrades aren't automatic and I would urge them to check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website www.scotlandsuperfast.com  to find out if they can get the service."

ENDS

Wholesale services are available over the Openreach network to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. FTTC is available at speeds of up to 80Mbps. FTTP is capable of delivering the fastest residential broadband speeds in the UK - up to 1Gbps - fast enough to download a two hour HD movie in 25 seconds or a 45-minute HD TV programme in just five seconds.