THOUSANDS of Borders households are set to get access to “ultrafast broadband” after it was revealed that a number of areas are in line for an upgrade.

Openreach made the announcement on Friday, May 28, with Jedburgh, Coldstream, Duns, St Boswells and Melrose among those set to benefit from the “five-year feat of civil engineering”.

West Linton, Eyemouth, Walkerburn, Innerleithen and Earlston are the other Borders areas that will be able to access “ultra-reliable” full fibre broadband.

Scottish economy secretary Kate Forbes, of the SNP, said the focus on rural and hard-to-reach areas “is exactly what I want to see”.

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“This is good news for Scottish Borders,” she said. “The rollout of ultrafast broadband to so many more rural communities is vitally important, especially as we focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Continued commercial build is an important part of the Reaching 100% Programme’s aim to provide access to superfast speeds for all premises.”

The announcement expands on Openreach’s existing nationwide build plans, which includes Galashiels, Hawick, Kelso, Selkirk and Peebles.

Across the Borders, around 12,000 premises can already access full fibre broadband on the Openreach network, according to the company.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s strategic infrastructure director, described the news as a “massive boost for Scotland”.

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He added: “Building a new broadband network across Scotland is a massive challenge and some parts of the country will inevitably require further public funding.

“But our expanded build plan means any future taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses. And with investments from other builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.

“The impact of full fibre broadband – stretching from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness to higher employment and environmental benefits – will be a massive boost for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating more Scottish jobs, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers.

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“We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses.

“In the meantime, people can also check what’s already available – which includes around 400,000 homes and businesses across Scotland that can already access full fibre on the Openreach network.”

Borders MP John Lamont, of the Conservatives, said: “This is really positive news for Borders communities that have been blighted by poor WiFi for too long now.

“It is encouraging that 10,900 premises across the Borders are set to benefit from the upgrade, particularly as we build back from the coronavirus pandemic,” the representative for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk added.

“But there is still lots to do to make sure Borders communities are fully connected.”

Here's the full list announced by Openreach:

  • Jedburgh
  • West Linton
  • Coldstream
  • Eyemouth
  • Duns
  • Walkerburn
  • Innerleithen
  • St Boswells
  • Melrose
  • Earlston