BUSINESSES and residents in three Peeblesshire villages now have access to faster fibre broadband, it has been revealed.

As part of the £428million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll-out, locals in Skirling now have access to fibre optic broadband for the first time, with more coverage going live in Kirton Manor and West Linton.

According to Digital Scotland, around 80.1 per cent of Borderers can now receive the quicker service across the region.

The goal to get fibre optic in the Borders was a collaboration between the Scottish Government and funding partners including, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the BT Group, local authorities and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund. Scottish Borders Council also contributed £8.4m.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council's Executive Member for Business and Economic Development said: “Superfast broadband is virtually essential for residents and businesses and I am pleased that this programme, which the Council has contributed significantly to, continues to reach new communities of all sizes here in the Scottish Borders.

“I’d encourage everyone to check the Digital Scotland website to find out if they can now receive superfast broadband, and if they can, to investigate the options with service providers, some of which will be at little extra cost.

“We are very aware however that some residents will not benefit at all from this programme, or still face slow speeds, and we continue to work hard with a range of partners to explore and develop alternative methods of significantly improving digital connectivity for every Borders resident and business.”

Robert Thorburn, Openreach digital partnership director for Scotland said: “We’re working flat out to bring high-speed fibre broadband to as many Scottish communities and households as possible and we’re continuing to make good progress.

“It’s fantastic to be reaching more people in the Scottish Borders who can now order their fastest-ever broadband speeds from a wide range of providers.

“With around a third of homes and businesses having upgraded to fibre so far, there’s plenty of scope for more Scots to benefit from much faster speeds.”

UK Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: "It's great that coverage has now been extended to the communities of Kirton Manor, Skirling and West Linton and we'll continue to support Digital Scotland delivering on the ground so that by 2020 everyone in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, will have access to a fast, reliable and affordable internet connection."

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