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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Cumbria connected to superfast broadband

93% of homes and businesses will have superfast broadband by December 2015 Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The roll out of superfast broadband is now in full swing across Cumbria, with a project to build a fibre network around the County ahead of schedule.

Connecting Cumbria will connect 93% of homes and businesses in the region with superfast broadband by December 2015. So far more than 66% have been connected.

Elsewhere in Cumbria, BT's engineers are working to deliver fibre to areas including Orton, Pooley Bridge, Grange-over-Sands, Windermere, Shap and Glenridding in 2015.

Cumbrian villagers welcome technology 'world first'

Sebergham near Wigton which is trialling new technology Credit: ITV News Border

A small village in Cumbria is at the centre of a world first in mobile phone and broadband technology. Sebergham, near Wigton, is taking part in a trial of a brand new system aimed at trying to connect remote rural areas.

The new technology works via a series of small mobile antennas and, if successful, should allow all the homes and businesses to receive a mobile phone signal and access to much faster broadband.

Mal Hilton, the Chairman of Northern Fells Broadband, has been telling ITV Border more about the scheme.

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