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Carlisle MP to hold public meeting on broadband issues

Carlisle MP, John Stevenson, is set to hold a public meeting for local residents to discuss their issues with broadband.

Representatives from telecommunications company, Openreach, will also be in attendance to answer questions.

I am very pleased to be able to give my constituents the opportunity to meet with representatives from Openreach to speak to them directly regarding the issues they have been experiencing.

These issues have been ongoing for months and in this day and age the internet has become a vital part of everyday life for many people.

It is encouraging that Openreach have agreed to address their concerns directly as part of their work to resolve this situation.”

– John Stevenson MP

The meeting will be held at the Richard Rose Morton Academy on Friday 28 July at 6.30pm. People who wish to attend are advised to send an email to office@johnstevensonmp.co.uk.

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Borders broadband boost

Programme Director for Digital Scotland – Liz Mallinson, Barrie Sweenie from Openreach, Mid-Berwickshire Ward Members – councillors Donald Moffat, John Greenwell and Frances Renton welcome broadband to Leitholm. Credit: Digital Scotland

More than 1,300 homes and businesses in and around Leitholm and Coldstream can now connect to fibre broadband.

The 300 homes and businesses in Leitholm and the 1,000 in Coldstream are among the 16,000 Scottish Borders premises now able to access fibre broadband due to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

To celebrate the occasion, Mid-Berwickshire Ward Members – councillors Frances Renton, Donald Moffat and John Greenwell - and members of the Digital Scotland programme unveiled one of Leitholm’s new fibre cabinets – with a golden 16K sign attached to mark the event.

Combined with BT’s commercial coverage, it means that more than 38,000 premises across the Borders can now sign up with a service provider to receive fibre broadband.

As part of the day’s events, the Digital Scotland team were also in nearby Coldstream at the Court House Place Car Park where residents were able to attend a special drop-in event. Representatives from the Digital Scotland team were on hand to get people up to speed with the technology and provide advice on signing up with a service provider.

The £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme aims to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to parts of Scotland not included in commercial providers’ investment plans.

The local premises are among more than 350,000 across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* as part of the rollout, being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time more quickly than ever before. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has contributed £8.4 million to the Digital Scotland rollout in addition to block funding from all the Scottish local authorities.

“It’s great to see that the Digital Scotland programme is making its way across the Scottish Borders, particularly in to some of our more rural and smaller villages. Fibre broadband opens up new opportunities for businesses and homes, as well as rural life.

“We know how important access to high-speed internet technology is to both residents and businesses – which is why Scottish Borders Council chose to invest £8.4 million into the programme’s rollout, to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from it.”

“Being connected can make such a contribution to all aspects of everyday life and work, and it’s great that Leitholm and Coldstream are now able to join the rising tide of communities which are already feeling the benefits.”

– Cllr Stuart Bell, SBC’s Executive Member for Economic Developmen

Broadband boost for Leitholm

Leitholm will benefit from better broadband. Credit: PA

More than 300 homes and businesses in Leitholm are the latest to benefit from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

The project team says in total, 16,000 properties in the Scottish Borders can now connect to fibre services.

The technology means more people can download and share large files at the same time, and quicker than before.

The aim is to increase fibre coverage to 95 percent of Scottish properties by 2017.

MP pushes for Carlisle to be 'Super Connected City'

John Stevenson MP

John Stevenson, the MP for Carlisle, is pushing for the city to be included in the 'Super Connected Cities' programme.

He's writing to John Whittingdale, the new Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to ask for Carlisle to be accepted onto the programme.

It would make it easier for small and medium businesses to apply for government funding for broadband.

Over the past five years in Government, the areas surrounding Carlisle have benefitted greatly from the rural broadband initiative that the Government has been encouraging.

Carlisle is home to many SMEs and I do not want them to be disadvantaged. We have to ensure that there are ‘good’ broadband connections in our City, especially connecting to our Industrial Sites such as Kingstown and Rosehill.

I have written to the Minister with the support of local businesses asking if he would consider including Carlisle in the Super Connected Cities programme. We have a good case to make and the outcomes could be quite significant."

– John Stevenson, MP

Poor connectivity has often been cited as a problem for businesses throughout Cumbria.

WATCH: council's plan to boost Dumfries and Galloway economy

Dumfries and Galloway Council has revealed its plan to boost the region's economy over the next five years.

But as Hannah McNulty found out, some businesses feel the Broadband connectivity in the county just isn't up to scratch:

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Phones and broadband returned to 300 homes

Businesses, which were left without access to phones and the internet, say they will be seeking compensation for lost trade.

People in the Cumbrian village of Stainton were left without the services for seven days because of a power cut. They were reconnected yesterday. Paul Crone has the story.

Statement from Openreach

"Openreach engineers are working hard to repair seven underground cables that have been accidentally damaged by contractors working for another organisation.

It’s extremely regrettable when Openreach suffers any kind of damage to its network. Our priority is always to restore the services of those affected as quickly as possible, which is what we’re trying to do in this case.

Engineers have worked hard to provide temporary services to those affected while they press on with the main job of replacing the damaged cables.

Due to the severity of the damage it’s going to be a complex process, which could take a couple of weeks to finish. Temporary traffic lights are required to enable the engineers to carry out the work safely and with minimum disruption to local people.

As a result of this incident around 300 fault reports have been received by Openreach from customers with different service providers, but more people may be affected."

– Spokesperson for Openreach

Broadband and phone lines return to Stainburn

Homes and businesses in Stainburn, Workington, have been given temporary Broadband and phone access, after seven power cables were accidentally cut last Friday.

Around 300 fault reports were sent to BT Openreach, and many people were without services for almost a week:

Perfect Peace or Dire Despair?

Credit: PA

Could you live without the internet for a week?

Homes in part of Stainburn, in Workington have had no broadband or phone lines for almost a week after underground cables were accidentally damaged.

It's thought around 70 people are affected, including local businesses. Openreach maintains the local network and says the damage was caused by a separate contractor but that it's now checking out what repairs are needed.

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